ALBUM OF THE DAY
Carlos Niño & Friends, “More Energy Fields, Current”
By Andy Thomas · May 10, 2021 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Cassette, Compact Disc (CD)

In an interview last year, the L.A. musician, producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader Carlos Niño said, “Music is expansive, and has the ability to inspire people to wake up and to tune into higher realizations of themselves—to have an expanded experience as a human on this earth.”

In recent years, Niño’s healing music has manifested in what he calls “Spiritual, Improvisational, Space Collages,” created with a host of musician friends—L.A. cohorts like Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Dexter Story, as well as New Age elders Laraaji and Iasos. His latest, More Energy Fields, Current, begins with an appeal: ‘Pleasewakeupalittlefaster, please…’ accompanied by a few words from Niño: “I look forward to living in a much higher, much more conscious, harmonious state, here, with You, on this Magical Planet Earth.” The message is matched by the elegiac power of the music created by Niño, who plays percussion throughout the LP, and Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra pianist Jamael Dean (aka Jira ><).

The record’s potency comes from the free, intuitive flow of Niño and his collective of musicians. Take “Salon Winds,” a breathtaking piece of sonic communication powered by Jamire Williams’ drumming, and given a sense of space and mystery by Nate Mercereau’s guitar synth, Jamael Dean’s Prophet keyboard, and Aaron Shaw’s flute.

Also on hand are saxophonist Sam Gendel and drummer Randy Gloss on a track dedicated to Leimert Park’s “World Stage.” Build An Ark percussionist Adam Rudolph joins Shaw on saxophone on the rhythmic abstractions of “Now the Background Is the Foreground,” while Niño and Dean pair with Laraaji for the crystalline ambience of “Ripples, Reflections, Loop,” featuring the ghostly vocals of Sharada. The LP closes with Niño and Shabaka Hutchings duetting on “Please Wake Up”—featuring the same transcendent piano by Jamael Dean that opened this sonic meditation 44 minutes earlier.

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