This release with Mick Flower on Japan banjo and Chris Corsano on drums is their first recording after less than a year of live performances. It illustrates why those shows have received such deserved praise.
Flower actually plays shahi baaja, and it doesn’t sound so much like a banjo as it does an electric dulcimer. Either way, the instrument carries with it an Eastern sound and an overhanging drone. Combining this with Corsano’s propulsive drumming feeds its mystic vibe to powerful effect. The give and take from the very beginning of “Earth” sounds like they’ve been playing for many years, and their differing styles are remarkably compatible. They change tactics with “Wind” as Flower shifts to bowing his instrument and Corsano switches to hand drums. “Fire” finds them stretching out for a longer excursion, and here they reach some meditative heights and blissfully transcendent moments. There may not be a lot of variety between these three tracks, with “Earth” and “Fire” sounding pretty similar in their construction, but if considered as a snapshot of a performance, it’s a fantastic and engrossing reflection of their vision.