-Greg’s Take- Analog Players Society: Hurricane Season in Brooklyn
Some of the most talented and musically genius artists never get their picture on the album cover, never get interviewed by the press and never have millions of drooling fans waiting for them at awards shows. For most of them, this is exactly how they want it to be. Why? They are session players.
One such session player is also producer, engineer and partner of Studio Brooklyn. Amon took a wealth of knowledge and experience, tossed in an ample dose of obvious passion and served it up on a worldly lush and exotic sound under the moniker Analog Players Society. Simply put, it is a vividly wild and entertaining hurricane of music which gains strength in the heart of Brooklyn.
Eclectically vibrant, deeply organic or as they put it “State of the art 1970′s technology…Nasty horns…Big drums… Sweaty dance floors…Paradise!” make up the heart and soul of Hurricane Season In Brooklyn. The nine track release combines infectious rhythms with a tribal intuition that will imbed itself in you, giving you a drive to dance and rhythm in your step you never knew you had.
Hurricane Season immediately submerses you in “Free.” The audible baptism drenches you in what seems to be an adventurous jam of fierce piano, bongo and horn infused experimentation. But even simply saying “experimentation” doesn’t quite don the appropriate understanding. Without the use of strong subliminal messages you become hypnotized in the rhythm and immediately surrender yourself to something larger than just music. Ever so slightly transitioning into the self-title track we’re given Cecilia Stalin’s vocals (which appear throughout the album). Her jazzy scat delivery beautifully weaves within the music. Analog Player Society taps into that unspoken language that finds the music from within. This record is incredibly easy to lose yourself in. Each track speaks a dialectal of its own and contributes masterfully to the greater whole. The collective that is Analog Player Society is clearly a coming together of quality musicians who are not afraid to take a chance and they obviously love what they do. Continuing to impress, each song is a great listen. Even the covers of Shannon’s “Let The Music Play” and Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days,” done like I’ve never heard them before, are a breath of originality. Hurricane Season is more than nine tracks and just under forty minutes, it is a trance that you want to succumb to.
If you appreciate jazz, scat vocals, island rhythms or even music, than I implore you to listen to Analog Players Society’s Hurricane Season In Brooklyn. And if there is one thing to take away from everything I’ve just said it is that this collective is not about Amon, not about Stalin’s vocals or anyone else who contributed to the record. It is about the music and that is clearly defined in the stressed walls that confine the power and life Analog Players Society has given to notes from a variety of instruments. Dive head first into Hurricane.
Albums made by collections of professional studio players once had a bad reputation with the traditional rock audience. Such works were supposedly arid and chilly — more like the results of a board meeting than the recorded adventure of an organic group of fabulous friends. Some music fans may still feel that way, but they are few. Nowadays, a tight-knit gaggle of session musicians like the Analog Players Society gets points from traditionalists simply because the music is made by flesh and blood.
The Analog Players Society was put together by a producer and percussionist in his mid-30s who calls himself Amon. The title of the album, Hurricane Season in Brooklyn, shows he knows that humor is a fine antidote to worries about arid and chilly. Much of the album is indeed jaunty, even rollicking.
Another aspect of Hurricane Season in Brooklyn that might make purists suspicious is that the album works both as a party soundtrack and as a quick-changing jam that’s delightful while you sit in a chair. I would argue that this is a strength of successful studio-pro workouts: The sass and variety of Amon’s arrangements and writing tickle the body while the smarts and deftness of the playing captivate the mind.
Amon’s most audacious stroke is reworking three cheesy dance-rock hits from the ’80s into the most successful reggae-style tracks in years. The standout is “I Can’t Wait,” originally by Nu Shooz. Singer Cecilia Stalin can’t do much with the drab lyrics, but her scatting provides the real statement, anyway.
Hurricane Season in Brooklyn feels a bit brief by CD standards: nine tracks at just less than 40 minutes. But that would make a healthy LP, and there’s not a minute of padding. The Analog Players Society provides some of the best evidence since the rise of Vampire Weekend that formerly exotic international music — particularly African rhythms and accents — has become an everyday part of the ever-richer mix of sources for modern popular tunes. Yet more styles the studio pros have to master: May they all wear their learning as lightly as the Analog Players Society.
Led by producer, engineer, and percussionist Amon (Turntables on the Hudson / Afrokinetic), the Analog Players Society (APS) is a collective and community of musicians rooted at The Hook Studio in Brooklyn, NY.
This digital DJ promo features songs from both of APS’s forthcoming 7″ releases on Redbud Records, out on 12/13. APS Vol. 1 consists of two dubbed out covers of well-known tracks: “Let The Music Play” (Version) originally recorded in 1983 by Shannon, and “Dance Hall Days” (Version) also recorded in 1983 by Wang Chung. APS Vol. 2 is a stellar re-working of the 1986 hit song “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz, which features the radiant vocals of Cecilia Stalin (Koop) over a full horn section and infectious keys. The instrumental version not included in this promo is available exclusively on Bandcamp.
Okayplayer is proud to premiere this new 45 from Redbud records featuring Cecelia Stalin and the Analog Player’s Society putting down a reggae-inflected cover of the classic “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz. Truly, this one of my favorite songs of all time, probably because I have good memories of female patrons taking their clothes off when I played it at the Stinger Club circa 2002. Combine that erotic potential with the well-documented buddy-shattering effects of reggae music and pretty much anything could happen when you run this selection at your yuletide bashment. To quote Planet Patrol: play at your own risk. See article here.