Chuck Jonkey

New Worlds

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Like the two gorillas in the rainforest pictured on the cover dipping their hands into a pool of planets and stars, New Worlds merges the earthy and the cosmic, the primal and the futuristic, in the latest installment of this artist's ongoing musical adventure. Chuck Jonkey continues to forge his distinctive style, based around mid-tempo tropical rhythms fleshed out by hand drums and watery rattles, with loosely structured melodies sketched primarily on acoustic guitar and guitar/sitar, embellished with environmental sounds recorded in the jungles of Thailand, the rainforests of Costa Rica and the countryside of India. If some tracks sound familiar, for thematic reasons, seven of the thirteen pieces are taken from previously released albums. The most unusual cuts are "Way Suk'a Bhy-U," a Thai chant sung almost exclusively to the accompaniment of hand drums, and "Parallel Universe" and "Playful," two earlier works whose choppy electronic percussion and twilight-zone synthesizers provide a somewhat jarring contrast to the organic rhythms and largely acoustic instrumentation of the rest of the album. Overall, however, New Worlds is a richly textured and enjoyable journey into the realms of percussion-based "new world" music.

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