A Thousand Faces - Act 1
Label: Beats Antique
This album (the first of two) may be Beats Antique's most adventurous -- and that's something for a group in the business of making new sonic worlds. Part concept album, part sprawling collabo (guests include Ali Akbar Khan's son), Faces is a whirlwind tour of Balkan brass, jazz horns, Middle Eastern strings and nuanced gamelan-pop. But the Bay Area band builds a home base for their travels, grounding every exotic twist in belly-dance shimmy and finding percussive commonalities in disparate melodies. Skip showy concept tunes and head for throbbingly delicate cuts like "Choran's Crossing."