Analog Players Society
Hurricane Season In Brooklyn (Studio Brooklyn, 2012)
I’m really encouraged by the new wave of musicians coming out of New York City who blend funk, Afrobeat, jazz and other sounds into a tasty mix. The Analog Players Society is one of these exciting new acts, a collective led by percussionist, producer, and engineer Amon.
Amon is deeply influenced by world music sounds. “I got interested in Turkish, West African and Middle Eastern music in college,” Amon says. “I eventually studied with Famadou Konate, Mamady Keita and M’Bemba Bangora.”
Hurricane Season In Brooklyn begins with engaging brass fueled Afrobeat on ‘Free.’ The title song ‘Hurricane Season In Brooklyn’ introduces attention-grabbing solo and harmonized vocals and electronic beats.
Reggae enters the scene with Analog Players Society’s cover of Shannon’s ‘Let The Music Play’ that features Amon on unexpected glockenspiel and Ethan White on piano.
Musical transformations continue. The dancehall hit “I Can’t Wait” is played as a 12/8 shuffle, in a Jamaican lover’s rock style, with soulful vocals by Cecilia Stalin (Koop) who sounds much like Erykah Badu.
Jamaican music is the main source of musical inspiration in the album. Track 5 is an instrumental cover of Wang Chung’s ‘Dance Hall Days.’
‘Just a Day’ is a delicious jazz-infused funk piece featuring Cecilia Stalin’s ear-catching scat vocals.
The African roots rhythms merge on “The Hippie don Know” by combining Jamaican ska, Nigerian Afrobeat and American beats. The piece features notable horn work by John Natchez on sax and Jonathan Powell on trumpet and valve trombone, and White’s Vox organ.
The album ends with the delicious grooves of the bass-heavy funk jazz cut titled ‘Moment’s Combine.’
Amon was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1977. “I never stopped playing pots and pans. By fourth grade my folks had bought me the trinity – snare, high hat and kick. I saved up for a floor tom and cymbal and built from there.”
Amon dropped out of the environmental education program at Hocking College to go on tour with Sxip Shirey, a multi-instrumentalist, and circus musician. “I eventually moved to Chicago and studied African percussion intensely for four years and traveled to Guinea, West Africa to study. At the peak of my training, I played a show with Tool at the invitation of Danny Carey. He’d scout out a percussionist in every town Tool played to join him on stage for a drum jam. I was lucky enough to me one of those guys.”
Eventually, Amon moved to New York, where he connected with Chris Annibell (Afrokinetic) and Nickodemus (Turntables on the Hudson), DJs pioneering the use of live percussion with recorded tracks. His success on the DJ scene led to additional work as a session musician, but Amon felt the urge to make his own music. “I wanted the feel of a dance party with a live band, but to make that happen I needed a studio/rehearsal space. I started recording at Hook Studio in Brooklyn and bonded with the owners, Pete Fand and Tony Schloss, and they made me a partner.”
“My session work connected me with the best players in New York. Since I engineer and mix everything, I can continually polish my sound. I like capturing the feel of live music in the studio, but playing live with these guys is the best. We all can learn a set in the afternoon and play it that night. I know I can throw anything at them and when we get on the bandstand, it’ll be amazing.”
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.