International Anthem / US / 2021
'More Energy Fields, Current' is a definitive new peak in the recorded continuum of prolific producer/percussionist Carlos Niño. Featuring heavy contributions from many of the most exciting instrumentalists in the creative music constellation of Los Angeles (of which Niño’s has been a central force for over 2 decades), the album collects 10 pristine gems of collaborative communication helmed by the Southern Californian sage, elegantly presented in his unique “Spiritual, Improvisational, Space Collage” style.
Starting with the subtle invitation of “Pleasewakeupalittlefaster, please…” (accompanied by the liner note from Niño: “We’re all in this together. I look forward to living in a much higher, much more conscious, harmonious state, here, with You, on this Magical Planet Earth.”), a gorgeously-keyed canonic infinity by pianist Jamael Dean articulates an Earth-loving, universalist ethos that imbues the entire 44 minute program. While the sonics shift and evolve, gracefully placed in patient order across subsequent track highlights “Nightswimming” (featuring Dean and Dntel on modular synth), “Thanking the Earth” (featuring multi-instrumentalists Sam Gendel and Nate Mercereau, whom Niño has been working and bonding extensively with in recent years), “Salon Winds” (featuring Jamire Williams on drums and Aaron Shaw on flute), and “Togetherness” (featuring Dean and Devin Daniels on sax), the naturalist sentiments established in the exposition remain potently present.
The album is ripe with “ambient” passages that function like open portals between moments of consonance and clarity. But even in the occasional absence of drums, there is a powerful pulse implicit in the program’s frequency of consciousness. It’s a testament to Niño’s foundations as a DJ. His distinct ability to craft kinetic, cinematic sonic experience from dozens of independent, often rhythmically-ambiguous improvisational archive memories is more fluently displayed on 'More Energy Fields, Current' than anything we’ve heard from him to date. It resonates, lucidly, with the way Niño’s mentor Iasos – who is known to the world as an original founder of New Age music – has described his work: "Real Time Interactive Imagination, Flow Texturization."
On 'More Energy Fields, Current', Niño immerses us in the watery depths of his world, spiriting us like a submarine through exotic nether-leagues of untouched sound. And when we arrive at the final, book-ending piece “Please, Wake Up.” (an extended version of the opening theme with transcendental counterpoint by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings), it’s like a return, safely to shore.