Michigan-based band Nomo is set to release their new album Ghost Rock on June 17. Produced by Ubiquity records, the album is the band’s third and develops their blend of funk, Afrobeat and jazz sound, but in no way limits their range.
“World music, jazz, electronica, Afrobeat…I hope that we don't get marginalized by any of these terms,” says band leader Elliot Bergman. “We are an American band, and in our hearts I think we're more of a rock band than anything else, but we love so many different types of music. This is our music. It is full of life, full of emotion. It’s funky, danceable, weird, heavy, exuberant, angry, joyous and raucous,”he adds.
Incorporating new influences like Can, Eno and Mia, Nomo breaks through with a matured and developed sound. The band’s perpetual grooves are deeper than ever. The horns are set ablaze and analog synths give an electrified energy to the music. The homemade percussion arsenal is ramped up a notch, and the electric saw blade gamelan brings gong-like overtones into the tangled vine of synthetic and organic strands. The band taps into its full orchestral potential—the arrangements are filled with timbral variety, as the textures of the percussion meld with the horn section.
With homemade, wild, Morton Subotnick-like, percussive loops on Ghost Rock serving as the framework for the compositions the band were freed up to experiment with different ideas and a bigger, more orchestral, sound was born. Helping Nomo achieve this new direction were some heavy rhythmic contributors. Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph lent their percussive mastery to several tracks and Josh Abrams fills out the low end on “Rings.”
Fans of the band will know that they like to start and end their live shows in the audience, and the opening and closing tracks on Ghost Rock echo this aspect of their performances. “Joining the audience for a song at the beginning or end of a show invites participation,” explains Bergman. “On a good night, it feels like everybody is working together. Having a few great dancers in the audience can really drive the band to new levels, and we love to sing together at the end of show. It ends up solidifying the bond between the player and the listener. It helps to make people feel that music is an event social, spiritual and communal rather than a commodity to be consumed.”
The band has toured incessantly since the 2006 release New Tones, which garnered much critical acclaim and ended up on top 10 lists like NPR, Gilles Peterson and Global Rhythm. The band has performed over 150 live concerts since the album, touring North America and Europe including stops at Bumbershoot, Pitchfork Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, SXSW, and WOMEX. Able to fit anywhere (literally and figuratively)—they’ve shared a stage with everyone from Earth Wind and Fire, to Konono No.1, to Sharon Jones, to Dan Deacon.