Ben Lamar Gay — „Open Arms to Open Us“ (Nov. 19, 2021)USA FLAG                                                                               Ben Lamar Gay — „Open Arms to Open Us“ (2021)
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Location: Chicago, IL
Album release: Nov. 19, 2021
Record Label: International Anthem
Duration:     46:05
Tracks:
01. Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks On You (feat. Ohmme)   3:28 
02. Hood Rich Happy   1:26
03. Bang Melodically Bang   3:09
04. Aunt Lola and the Quail   4:16 
05. Mestre Candeia’s Denim Hat   1:53 
06. Oh Great Be The Lake   3:01 
07. I Be Loving Me Some Of You   2:07
08. Nyuzura (feat. Dorothée Munyaneza)   3:27
09. Slightly Before The Dawn   3:25
10. Lean Back. Try Igbo (feat. Onye Ozuzu)   1:20
11. Dress Me In New Love     1:53
12. Touch. Don’t Scroll (feat. Ayanna Woods)   4:25
13. I Once Carried A Blossom (feat. A.Martinez)   1:00
14. In Tongues And In Droves (feat. Tomeka Reid)   5:20
15. S’Phisticated Lady (feat. Gira Dahnee & Angel Bat Dawid)   1:35
16. We Gon Win   4:19
Personnel:
⊗  Ben LaMar Gay — cornet, voice, organ, balafon, synths, temple blocks, programming, manipulations, percussion, cítara, bass synth, triangle, pandeiro, beatbox, kick drum, things
⊗  Tommaso Moretti — drums, xylophone, percussion, thangs
⊗  Macie Stewart — voice
⊗  Sima Cunningham — voice
⊗  Matthew Davis — tuba, trombone
⊗  Angela, Leia, Mina — a mother raises her daughters up to the mic (ooh Ahh AHH Ooh), voices
⊗  Johanna Brock — violin, viola, light
 Tomeka Reid — cello, voice, luz
⊗  Rob Frye — flute, percussion, ears, tings and tungs
⊗  Ayanna Woods — voice, electric bass, light, ¡FreshNuss!
⊗  Adam Zanolini — soprano saxophone, oboe and swang
⊗  Xoco, Hannah, Francesca, Angela, Adam, Benjamin — Love Choir
⊗  Dorothée Munyaneza — voice
⊗  Onye Ozuzu — voice, Igbo alphabet
 Rain — pouring
⊗  A.Martinez — poem
⊗  Gira Dahnee — Florida version
⊗  Angel Bat Dawid — Louisville recollections
⊗  Leia, Angela, Xoco, Alyssa, Mina, Benjamin — facts
Credits:
⊗  All songs composed by Ben LaMar Gay (Tobany G Sound ASCAP), except “Nyuzura” composed by Ben LaMar Gay & Dorothée Munyaneza, and “I Once Carried A Blossom” composed by Ben LaMar Gay & A.Martinez.
⊗  Recorded March ~ June 2021 at International Anthem Studios, Chicago.
⊗  Produced by Ben LaMar Gay & Dave Vettraino.
⊗  Engineered & Mixed by Dave Vettraino.
⊗  Mastered by Dave Cooley.
⊗  Art by Ayanah Moor.
⊗  Layout & Insert Design by Craig Hansen.Ben LaMar GayOpen Arms to Open Us Review by Matt Collar Score: ★★★★
■  Chicago cornetist, multi~instrumentalist, and all~around musical mad scientist Ben LaMar Gay continues to push the edges of his genre~defying sound on 2021’s surrealistically ambitious Open Arms to Open Us. The album follows several years of Gay’s already boundary~pushing work with artists like Makaya McCraven and Nicole Mitchell, as well as his own albums like 2018’s equally expansive Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun. Loosely triangulating the kinetic post~rock of Tortoise, the cross~pollinated pop experimentalism of David Byrne, and the globally minded avant~garde jazz of Don Cherry, Gay has crafted an album with the giddy, disorienting quality of a David Lynch film. That might lead you to think Open Arms to Open Us will confound your ears; on the contrary, Gay pulls you deeper into his Lynchian dreamscapes, contrasting his wildly inventive genre~clashing with soulful hooks and infectious Krautrock grooves.
■  It’s a vibe that’s especially redolent on the bubbly, evocatively titled “Bang Melodically Bang” in which Gay croons in a serpentine stream of consciousness against a swirling stew of jazzy bass, drums, and electronic bleeps. Yet more vibrant stylistic mash~ups arrive throughout the album as Gay brings on board a slew of guest performers, including pairing with Chicago indie duo Ohmme for the spiraling prog~R&B number “Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks on You” and British~Rwandan singer Dorothée Munyaneza on the poignantly dissonant African folk song~meets~Steve Reich composition “Nyuzura.” We also get equally potent collaborations with vocalist Ayanna Woods, cellist Tomeka Reid, singer/performance artist Onye Ozuzu, and others.
■  Gay more than succeeds in weaving all of these seemingly disparate sounds together, and Open Arms to Open Us has the engaging feeling of walking through a kaleidoscopic multimedia art installation.
■  https://www.allmusic.com/album/open-arms-to-open-us-mw0003599905
Review
■  Chicago cornetist, multi~instrumentalist, and all~around musical mad scientist Ben LaMar Gay continues to push the edges of his genre-defying sound on 2021’s surrealistically ambitious Open Arms to Open Us. The album follows several years of Gay’s already boundary~pushing work with artists like Makaya McCraven and Nicole Mitchell, as well as his own albums like 2018’s equally expansive Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun. Loosely triangulating the kinetic post~rock of Tortoise, the cross~pollinated pop experimentalism of David Byrne, and the globally minded avant~garde jazz of Don Cherry, Gay has crafted an album with the giddy, disorienting quality of a David Lynch film. That might lead you to think Open Arms to Open Us will confound your ears; on the contrary, Gay pulls you deeper into his Lynchian dreamscapes, contrasting his wildly inventive genre~clashing with soulful hooks and infectious Krautrock grooves.
■  It’s a vibe that’s especially redolent on the bubbly, evocatively titled “Bang Melodically Bang” in which Gay croons in a serpentine stream of consciousness against a swirling stew of jazzy bass, drums, and electronic bleeps. Yet more vibrant stylistic mash~ups arrive throughout the album as Gay brings on board a slew of guest performers, including pairing with Chicago indie duo Ohmme for the spiraling prog~R&B number “Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks on You” and British~Rwandan singer Dorothée Munyaneza on the poignantly dissonant African folk song~meets~Steve Reich composition “Nyuzura.” We also get equally potent collaborations with vocalist Ayanna Woods, cellist Tomeka Reid, singer/performance artist Onye Ozuzu, and others.
■  Gay more than succeeds in weaving all of these seemingly disparate sounds together, and Open Arms to Open Us has the engaging feeling of walking through a kaleidoscopic multimedia art installation.
Label: https://www.intlanthem.com/
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