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Melo X: Do

A truly unusual merging of techno and traditional, the work of Melo X builds on direct samples or story ideas from a variety of ancient cultures. On Do (Quinton), the five-member ensemble offers intriguing looks within and dramatic clashes between these historic foundations and the modern world. The cultural “insider” set pieces range from epic to deeply personal tales: “Laos” is a wicked-paced rumble through an ancient village festival, for example, with hard-bopping jazz saxophone providing an edgy contrast to traditional vocals and percussions. “Shakaio” offers mournful shades of clarinet, sax and cello with breath sounds whooshing through as an Inuit elder reflects on her life. Culture crash is an apt description for “Kompule,” with haunted clarinet and pygmy chants contrasting with Neil Armstrong’s familiar moon mission words in a lonely midi-rock drama. Where “Rolmo,” with its sax-echoed Tibetan chants, sets a contrast with the cacophonous rhythms and wild horns of modern New York City, “Anateknotol” finds jittery sax tones flitting and flying above rain and nature sounds for a techno-scary contrast. The album title Do comes from a Japanese term for “never ending path,” and Melo X fulfills that mission by depicting universal connections and contrasts between the modern and ancient world, flowing through their accomplished, unique compositions.

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