Dec 14 2017
It’s pretty easy to fall for this embrace of Middle-Eastern and Appalachian musics. A charming twang, dexterous melodic leaps, some effusive stomps, and a simple swaying motion all come together on the latest release from the Sandcatchers. The unconventional music extends to the tools utilized to express it. Oud, lap steel, cello, bass and percussion achieve a unity that makes this uncommon combination of instruments sound like something that should be a daily occurrence. The sonorous cries from Erik Friedlander’s cello are right at home with Yoshie Fruchter’s rapid melodic patter on oud, and where things don’t fall neatly into place, there’s Myk Friedlander’s lap steel to bridge the divide. On bass and percussion, Michael Bates and Vonadav Halevy provide the terra firma for the hypnotic melodies to plant their feet as they develop the path ahead, as well as the outline of the firmament above so the perception of the song isn’t subsumed into the depths of the melody.
“Flees Fast Singing” shows the band knows how to light a match under a tune and coax the flames higher, while “Drops Stars Like Memories” are the embers breaking free and claiming a tiny bit of the darkness for themselves. The way in which thick rivulets of melody are captured by the driven momentum of “Washed and Wild” and catapulted ahead is a lovely weaving of tone and tempo, where the beauty of the river has as much to do with the comforting susurration of its rapids as it does the sunlight captured upon its rippled surface. Sometimes there is an ebb and flow between the influences of maqam, folk and jazz, where one attains prominence over the others, and other times it’s a dramatic collision of tides. And while each of those instances provide their share of thrills and beauty, it’s a track like “The Face After Crying,” where the commingling of influences makes it impossible to tell where one ends and the next begins, that reflects this album at its most compelling.
Your album personnel: Yoshie Fruchter (oud, guitar), Myk Freedman (lap steel), Erik Friedlander (cello), Michael Bates (bass) and Yonadav Halevy (drums, percussion)
Released on Chant Records.
Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from Brooklyn, NY.