Saturday, October 20, 2012


by Carlos Niño & Friends

I'm not sure that I entirely understand the love given in hip-hop circles to Carlos Niño.  Sure, his music is hauntingly beautiful, and he was instrumental in the whole Suite for Ma Dukes symphonic interpretation of J Dilla's music (god I love that disc), and he was featured on Exile's brilliant Radio album (he's the guy who keeps saying, "Love, let's say it again" on one track), but it's impossible to listen to Aquariusssssss, his lovely new recording, and think of hip-hop.

This is a collection of pretty ambient music, which some would easily file into a New Age section of a record store.  It's better than that entire genre, but it does have the crashing waves, the bird song, and the random spoken word poetry (all on one track - 'Listening to the conversations of the Birds...').  It also has some terrific music, and the strings of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.  It also has some ridiculous track names, such as 'Bath of Breath Crystal Crescendo', 'Tears Of Transcendence', and 'Trance Elation of Transformance'.  One would expect to find pictures of fractals circa '94 in the liner notes, but instead we get a picture of Niño swimming in the ocean.

As easy as this project is to poke fun at, I find that I love leaving this playing while I'm reading at the end of a long day.  It's not for everyone, but it's lovely.

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