Arômes d’ailleurs, the intoxicating new album by the Bomata trio, has an irresitable brooding disposition, even when the sound gets a bit chipper. This is not unexpected, because clarinet can be made to sound just like moonlight as it can a bright ray of sunlight. Now add to that mix a bass that knows how to sing and percussion with a dynamic nuance, and the resulting concoction transforms a pensive demeanor into a state of elegance, replete with a sunny warmth to contrast with music of cloudy skies. Guest appearances on piano and additional percussion add some welcome texture to the affair, and offer a little extra punch to the music’s emotional impact.
Your album personnel: Guillaume Bourque (clarinet, bass clarinet), Jean Félix Mailloux (bass), Patrick Graham (percussion), and guests: Jérôme Beaulieu (piano), Philippe Melanson (drums), and Ziya Tabassian (percussion).
Overall, a consistent album in terms of sound cohesion, but it does shift within that framework. There’s some influence from music of the Middle-East and the Mediterranean, but, ultimately, it eludes definitive categorization.
Tracks like Nuit blanche and Somnambule epitomize the brooding element of this recording. Bourque’s soulful statements on bass clarinet pair well with Beaulieu’s pensive expressions on piano. Mailloux cries out on bass, an arco message of quavering resonance. Graham’s percussion possesses the fluidity of a river, the crash and shake of rapids over rocks.
But it’s not all cloudy skies. Sesame has an upbeat nature. Clarinet rises up like thick smoke, incited to greater heights by percussion. Bass, which perhaps began as a motivating force, rises up to join clarinet’s elevation by song’s end. Opening track Au parc also maintains a cheerful disposition, each instrument getting the opportunity to let their voice rise above the others, but always accompanied by complementary chatter.
Chinoiseries has a deliberate pace, though this is belied by some very active percussion… not unlike an early-morning sleepy face crowned with a head of crazy bed-hair. As wakefulness grows, so does the song’s intensity, rising to a fevered pitch. Jamine also moves at a steadied gait, and in this instance, maintains it evenly throughout. On Sabzi, the deep sway of bass clarinet is crosshatched with the spinning wheels of percussion. And on album closer Genmaicha, bass arco sweeps back and forth across the tilled soil of percussion.
A very happy surprise to have happened upon this album, and I wanted to get some print down for it. The album is Self-Produced.