Mecca Bodega - Skin CD

About midway through “Skin,” I felt like I was in some deep forest out in the middle of nowhere – lost and directionless but not really caring as long as I could lay under the tall trees and listen to the sound magic being projected all around. Speakers on branches on giant bark monoliths? Actually, I was in that environment in a way. “Forest” is track six on an eleven track World Percussion masterwork that keeps the listener transfixed under an intoxicating spell.

From the opening "Ravine" to the closing "Doko," Mecca Bodega utilizes every type of acoustic instrument - ancient or otherwise - to provoke wild shamanistic sermons about primitive beats exported into the 21st Century. The CD's most intriguing aspect is the combination of numerous forms of percussion with French horn and hammered dulcimer. Paul Mueller plays trap kit, drums, percussion, hammered dulcimer among other percussion sounds and subtly taps lucid little sonnet journeys. AB+ on French horn, keyboards, synth bass and piano provides a wonderfully different take on drum groove with his melancholic horn notes. The rest of the band wring every world sound from their instruments - no track is the same as the one before; however, "Skin" has a unique track bleeding technique that makes the whole 55 minutes feel like it was written and played on one gloriously long summer's night into a wide natural environment filled with strange curiosities and magnificent percussion tapestries. Check out "Kegger" and hear how the echo of a beer keg can transport a band to an elevation better left heard than explained. "Mountain" welds the dynamic dulcimer, floating piano and percussion with the soft majesty of the French horn to brilliant effect - a perfect summation of the entire CD.

-- Randy Ray