Ekstasis

Wake up & Dream

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Try not to get confused, here: yes, Ekstasis was the name of Nicky Skopelitis' first solo album on the Axiom label, and he was accompanied by a lineup similar to this one (which consists of the ubiquitous Bill Laswell and the irrepressible Jah Wobble on bass, drummer Jaki Liebezeit and tabla players Zakir Hussain and Badal Roy). This time, though, it's the band that's called Ekstasis, and although the music is very much in the same trancey, world-beatish, ambient mode as before, it's better realized and generally more interesting this time out. Skopelitis is mapping out more definite guitar melodies these days, which allows the band to flex and groove more creatively without fear of losing the thread-notice the subtly dubwise drum fades and wild tabla extemporizations on "Providence," all of which are possible because Skopelitis keeps his guitar part disciplined and tonal. "Nepenthe" starts out abstract and arrhythmic, but then lapses into an easy groove over which the guitar shreds quietly. Some will call this stuff downtown muzak. I say if it sounds good, it is good, and this sounds very good.

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