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Floratone II (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Floratone's membership includes guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Matt Chamberlain, and producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine. Their self-titled debut album in 2007 was the result of two years of collaborative recording, editing, sonic experimentation and re-recording. Upright bassist Viktor Krauss, trumpeter Ron Miles, and violinist/violist Eyvind Kang also contributed. The highly atmospheric musical palette breached styles from dubby reggae, country, and blues to New Orleans-styled funk and swampy rock. On Floratone II, emulating the same recording and editing process, the end result is more abstract in its production, but conversely more song-like in its structure. Miles and Kang reprise their roles. This time, however, Mike Elizondo contributed on electric and acoustic bass, and Jon Brion added keyboards and samples. Dissonances, both musical and sonic, are utilized as jelling agents to create airy but fully formed songs. Check the opener "The Bloom Is On," where Miles creates a lyric head, Frisell and Kang illustrate it, and the rhythm section highlights the groove quotient while space is added by Brion's samples and the producer's effects and loops. "Parade" is an aptly titled jazz tune, with elements of carnival and march music in its melody, stretched harmonies, and polyrhythmic pulses. Frisell's playing is lovely, finding phrases that accent the tune's humorous bent, but also its harmonic lyricism. Chamberlain's circular groove moves from in the cut to respond to basslines, effects, and keys and back again. "Move" rocks it up, with driving chords, and Chamberlain's kit rushes headlong into a controlled sonic maelstrom. The production is detailed but stays focused on the interplay between Chamberlain and Frisell. "Do You Have It" walks the line between funk and country stroll. "Gimme Some" follows a stretched blues into the twilight zone; loops and Chamberlain's deep bass drum and tom-toms highlight Elizondo's dark bassline. Frisell vamps and turns in imaginative counterpoint. The set closes on "Stand by This," a brief, languid ballad on which Frisell uses his acoustic and electric, with Miles and Kang suggesting a melody without actually stating one. Chamberlain's sparse kit work and the effects expand the space around it all. Floratone II is a sonically more adventurous, yet more musically focused album than its predecessor.


Formed: 2005 in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The four-person collective project known as Floratone is made up of four well-known individual artists: guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Matt Chamberlain, and producers/engineers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine; all of whom have wide-ranging résumés. As a group they have, in the 21st century, built upon the same intuitive, close collaborative spirit that brought producer Teo Macero and Miles Davis together on monumental recordings such as Bitches Brew and On the Corner -- though this group's music...
Full Bio
Floratone II (Bonus Track Version), Floratone
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