After dropping just enough compilation and 12-inch cuts to leave listeners hungry for more, Lou Ciccotelli (Laika, Ice, God, Spleen) and Richard Olatunde Baker finally unveiled an Eardrum full-length. They exceeded all expectations, producing LAST LIGHT, an album alive with 4th World percussion, humid electronic textures, and feverishly vivid, sweat-soaked sub-equatorial atmosphere. There's precedent for what Eardrum does. On 1980's POSSIBLE MUSICS, Brian Eno and trumpeter Jon Hassell mapped terrain they dubbed "Fourth World Ambience." Paul Schutze's NEW MAPS OF HELL trilogy explored similar ends via more electronic means. Throughout the '80s, Sheffield ethno-funk tribalists 23Skidoo and On-U Sound dub mavericks African Headcharge crossbred global rhythms with those of modern dance.
Yet Eardrum's synthesis is unique, recorded live with guest instrumentalists and studio-shaped in the manner of Teo Macero's BITCHES BREW sessions. African, Eastern, and Western percussive dialects collide with modern dance mechanics in polyrhythmic rapture. Ciccotelli's avant-hip-hop disposition imparts "Roach," "From the Nucleus," and "Plummet" with a seething urban edge. "Swarm" slithers serpent-like toward Afro-beat ecstasy. "Lizard" and "Nightcrawler" scamper across the bridge between gamelan and techno. It's the rousing "City Collision," however, that exemplifies Eardrum's approach--flutes, clattering kalimbas, and dub-scarred electronica converging under a new-world horizon.