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Mako Sica & Hamid Drake: Ronda (Feeding Tube/Astral Spirits)

Review of the Chicago avant-rock trio's collaboration with a similarly minded percussionist

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Cover of Mako Sica and Hamid Drake album Ronda
Cover of Mako Sica and Hamid Drake album Ronda

Since 2007, the free-improv-minded rock trio Mako Sica has been a vital cog in Chicago’s eclectic avant-garde scene, meandering through similar astral planes to the ones that beguiled John Coltrane, Sonny Sharrock, and hometown heroes the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

The cosmic kinship that guitarist/trumpeter Przemyslaw Drazek, vocalist/guitarist Brent Fuscaldo, and percussionist Chaetan Newell share with those aforementioned icons scaled new heights on Invocation, Mako Sica’s excellent set from 2017. Like Coltrane’s “Spiritual,” the entrancing grooves of Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society, and the six-string pyrotechnics of James “Blood” Ulmer wrapped into one but led by North African-leaning twin-guitar heroics, Invocation remains an overlooked gem well worth seeking out.

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