Engineered by Tucker Martine
Engineer: Greg Calbi
Recorded and Mixed at Flora (Portland)
Additional Recording: Kung Fu Bakery (Portland), Phantom Studios (Westlake Village, CA) assisted by Brent Arrowood
Mastered at Sterling Sound, NY
Production assistance: Adam Blomberg
Photography: Michael Wilson
Art Design: Gwen Terpstra, Terpstra Design
The Bloom Is On
Not Over Ever
Do You Have It?
The Time, The Place
No Turn Back
The Time, The Place (Part 2)
11. Gimme Some
12. Grin and Bite
Stand By This
BILL FRISELL guitars
MATT CHAMBERLAIN drums, percussion
TUCKER MARTINE production
LEE TOWNSEND production
with special guests:
Mike Elizondo - bass
Jon Brion - keyboards
Ron Miles - trumpet
Eyvind Kang - viola
Bill Frisell, Matt
Chamberlain, Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine – Floratone II (2012)
"Floratone is Mr. Frisell’s studio alliance
with the drummer Matt Chamberlain and the producers Lee Townsend and
Tucker Martine. The project, which hinges on a deft editorial restructuring
of free-form guitar-and-drums interplay, released its self-titled debut
on Blue Note in 2007. Everyone on board seems to have adjusted to the
premise since then. “Floratone II” is a surer and more engaging
album. Most of its tracks still feel like snapshots, but they’re
vivid, color-saturated, with flashes of intrigue.
As on the first Floratone album, some parts have
been outsourced to the trumpeter Ron Miles and the violist Eyvind Kang.
Also joining that effort this time are the bassist Mike Elizondo and
the multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, who happen to be record producers
with a gift for artfully rendered pop.
It’s impossible to know who called the shots
at various points on this album, but the 10-minute stretch that drifts
from “Move” to “Do You Have It?” to “The
Time, The Place” represents the best outcome for all involved — not
only because Mr. Frisell sounds so resourceful and enlivened, but also
because all the layers of surrounding detail make such intuitive sense.
Mr. Frisell and Mr. Chamberlain may be the heart and soul of Floratone,
but Mr. Townsend and Mr. Martine clearly make up a good chunk of its
brain." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times
Ever since Bill Frisell broke away from his longtime label Nonesuch and
signed up with Savoy Jazz a couple of years ago, we have been subjected
to wave after wave of Frisell releases....
Wait, did I say “subjected” us to a deluge of fresh recordings?
Oh no, over here we welcome every new Frisell offering, especially since
Bill never stays in one place from record to record. He will, however,
revisit ground he’s covered before after some time, and, well, it’s
been nearly five years since Bill Frisell has made a record with his Floratone
cohorts, so guess what? Yep, that’s right. Next week, the second
collaboration among Frisell, Matt Chamberlain, Lee Townsend and Tucker
Martine hits the street. The first meeting was called Floratone, and the
new one is christened Floratone II. The story and basic concept behind
this group goes like this: Frisell and drummer/percussionist Matt Chamberlain
get together and come up with musical concepts, patterns and basic progressions.
Townsend and Martine come in and take these globs and turn them into identifiable
shapes. They do so by adding textures, mixing, editing and adding additional
accompaniment, such as Kang’s viola and Ron MIles’ cornet,
as in the first record. Mike Elizondo provides the bass this time and Jon
Brion is on keys.
Floratone to Bill Frisell is a lot like what The Fireman is to
Paul McCartney : a way to break outside of usual comfort areas
by having someone else shape the sound and bringing in a musical
partner to bounce ideas off of. As Frisell seems to increasingly
favor mid-20th century Americana motifs of late (and you can still
find them on Floratone II, see “Stand
By This”), this project puts his music sonically back in the present
even as the music is instantly recognizable as a Bill Frisell type record.
“The Bloom Is On” immediately makes clear the touch of Townsend
and Martine, as Frisell’s guitar is looped and dubbed over to give the
song a dreamy, slightly psychedelic character. Miles’ horn is layered
eloquently for “More Pluck” and combines with Kang’s viola
and electronic atmospherics to blend right in with Frisell’s stinging
tones. Mildly suggesting the Spanish flavors he explored on Lágrimas
Mexicanas with Vinicius Cantuaria last year, “The Time, The Place” is
a sweet, gentle piece that doesn’t even feature Frisell much at all,
but rather, Miles and Kang swapping lines instead.
It might be easy to tune in on Frisell only and his idiosyncratic
guitar mannerisms, but you would be ignoring Chamberlain at your
own risk. Like Frisell, he’s a master of tone, space and placement, and those abilities
show up gloriously on tunes like the swampy groove of “Snake, Rattle,” the
second line wiggle of “Do You Have It?” and especially the
rapid hand percussion that drives “Move.” He and Frisell create
a cool, maddenly asymmetrical fractured rock rhythm that makes “No
Turn Back” such fun.
As with the first Floratone, Frisell cedes some creative control
with guys he trusts, and once again, the trust pays off in a Bill
Frisell record that he couldn’t have quite have done on his own. Not better nor
worse than a proper Frisell record, the appeal of Floratone II lies in
the four different visions, of talented performers and producers alike,
coming together as a single piece of work. - S.Victor Aaron, Somethin’ Else.