Following on to the stunning Chicago Waves, the recording of a live performance between Carlos Niño and his long time collaborator Miguel Atwood-Ferguson published in 2020 on the fascinating International Anthem label, comes More Energy Fields, Current, the new edition of his Niño and friends project.
The prolific LA beatdown / spiritual jazz shaman has gathered pieces he recorded pre pandemic with some (many!) of his friends and fellow cosmic wanderers, Jamael Dean, Randy Gloss, Devin Daniels, Sam Gendel, and Laraaji, with the addition of DNTEL and Shabaka Hutchings being welcomed aboard the communal mothership. These musical vignettes were then pieced together during lockdown by Niño himself, acting as a bandleader, producer and collage artist altogether.
The set opens and closes with the same theme, ‘Please, wake up’, a call for awareness and higher consciousness, featuring the brief and all too essential presence of Shabaka Hutchings on a circular spiral tip reminiscent of Pharoah Sanders’ ‘Kazuko’.
The overall vibe in between is altogether deep, floaty and exploratory, featuring modular synth musings aplenty, and a trademark mix of cosmic new age odysseys à la Iasos (one of Niño’s mentors, as acknowledged on the space interlude ‘Iasos 70’til Infinity’) with freeform spiritual jazz of the most transcendental kind (‘Salon Winds’).
Highlights range from the subaquatic depths of 'Nightswimming', to cinematic film noir soundscape ('Now the background is the foreground'), to the ethereal cosmic landscapes of 'Ripples Reflection Loop (with Laaraji) and ‘Togetherness’. However, as with most of Niño’s output, it is with repeated and dedicated total immersions that the music (Niño’s vision especially) will come into its own to reveal its higher, universal love powers.
Somewhat moodier and less expansive than usual, More Energy Fields, Current could well be heard as the night time companion to Chicago Waves’ early morning soundtrack; offering yet another facet of the genius of Niño as a curator of sounds, waves and, indeed, energies.