Barrett Martin / Wayward Shamans

Alchemy

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Wayward indeed are these guys, who mix tribal and religious drumming with jazz-rock. Under the leadership of Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, the album combines band work with field recordings made around the globe from Africa to Latin America and Cuba. The result, unfortunately, isn't likely to attract those who favor the percussive jazz-rock the band generates (too many field recordings involved) or those who like their ethnic music undiluted. And that's a shame, because there's a lot to be garnered here. Obviously, Martin is a serious student of global drumming in all its forms and a remarkable musician, too -- he plays 15 different instruments on the record in addition to contributing vocals. And those with him are no slouches either; the music is demanding, shifting moods and tempos relentlessly in a manner that actually complements the globetrotting well. It's not perfect, but if you let yourself sink into it, there's enough going on to keep you occupied for days.

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