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Published: 2001/05/21
by Jesse Jarnow

"See The Sun" – Count M’butu Orchestra

Terminus Records 0008-2

"See The Sun" – the Count M'butu
Orchestra

With "See The Sun," former Aquarium Rescue Unit percussionist Count M'butu
has produced a richly textured revue. The music floats intelligently and
overflows with joy — especially the opening Here We Go, which is
pleasantly catchy and manages to repeat the same groove for the duration of
the song without driving it into the ground.

The personnel varies across the disc. More than 25 different musicians
appear, reading like a who's who of the Atlanta axis. What ties them
together (besides Count M'butu and the indisputable influence of Col. Bruce)
is the way M'butu creates the sound of his Orchestra, which is uniform
throughout the disc (airy and breezy, summery feeling, but also rhythmically
adept). The personnel changes keep the sound fresh across the disc's 11
tracks.

The airiness of the disc can be pinned down, I think, on the mix of M'butu's
delicate percussion work and the blend of acoustic instruments. When
electronic sounds trickle in, such as Rev. Oliver Wells' synth work on the
title track, things get a touch heavy-handed. As such, two stand-out tracks – Algo Se Quema and Work For Food – are by the original
line-up of the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Mandolinist
Matt Mundy even comes out retirement for his first recorded appearance since Bela
Fleck's 1994 "Tales From The Acoustic Planet," and his instrument melds perfectly
with the textured percussion. Even Jeff Sipe's incredibly busy drums are
mostly channeled. The chorus of Algo Se Quema, in specific, is a good
example of the band's nimble flightiness. The only disappointment on the
ARU tracks is Burbridge, unfortunately, as at time his bass weighs the tunes down.

The disc struggles occasionally with lyrics that border on trite platitudes.
In fact, most of the lyrics seem to do this. The ones in Spanish aren't
quite so bad, for me, as I don't know the language. In fact, without literal
meaning, they are quite pleasant. Too much low end seems to be one of the
album's recurring problems. The male vocals on the second track, Que
Bonita La Chica, for example. When the songs reverts to the chorus, sung
by featured vocalist Graciela Lopez, the vocals move the melody in an
effervescent way, the same way as the music seems to float along.

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