Mike Dillon in His Room of Toys: Rosewood
You know what happens when you turn a child loose in a play store full of toys?
That’s the best way to describe Mike Dillon’s brand new album Rosewood. If you’ve seen any of Dillon’s livestreams, you know exactly what we’re talking about. That man has more percussion “toys” than most children have Legos. Best part: Dillon knows what to do with ALL of them.
Which brings us back to Rosewood. This album is a sonic delight, an eargasm of the best kind. On track after track, thirteen of them on this album, the permutations and combinations of instruments are just mind-blowing, creating so many different aural landscapes. For the most part, this is just Dillon and his workshop.
Influences whirl by at 90 miles an hour. Vibraphone and marimba dance throughout the entire album. Opening song “Tiki Bird Whistle” sounds like a rain forest tune, accented by the cuíca, alternately sounding like a chimp or a bird. “Beignet’s Bounce” recalls themes Dillon loves to incorporate. The vibes just shimmer here, and the recording has great depth. “Mulatu Goes to India” — and outer space — on this trippy track with a really spacey groove in the background.
A real rocker is next in “St. Claude’s Drone,” again using that trippy background ostinato as it pulses along; Earl Harvin joins in here on drum kit. For something completely different, “Vibes at the End of the World” is gorgeous meditation music, a companion to crystal bowls. There is a cover of one of his favorite tunes to play in concert, Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” as haunting as ever. And, reversing direction again, “Rhumba for Peregrine” is bouncy syncopation and a nice dance tune. It also honors Peregrine Honig, who designed the album cover. She also did the one for Bonobo Bonobo and for Urn, and Mike is her husband.
“Earl’s Bolero” features a lovely Latin groove, marimba out front. Then it’s a return to 2018’s Bonobo Bonobo for “Bonobo,” with the synthesizer in the background helping to state the melody. This is a great groove, very Zappa-esque. The first of two Elliot Smith compositions, “Talking to Mary” is a beautiful ballad, vibes foremost here with marimba accents.
“Sober Mardi Gras” reminds us that the festival is a blast without enhancements; there’s plenty enough going on. The uptempo groove is perfect. “Tony Allen at the Music Box” is the sound of someone running through the streets, a repetitive pulse of energy. And Dillon closes the album with the second of Elliot Smith’s songs, ironically titled “Can’t Make a Sound.”
If this is your first time, welcome to the Wild World of Mike Dillon. You’ll never be the same — and that is a very, very good thing. You can order Rosewood on most platforms, but cut out the middle man and order directly from Mike Dillon! Link below.
Dillon’s digital tip jar:
PayPal — Boneloaf@hotmail
Venmo — Mike-Dillon-Band
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Posted by The Mike Dillon Band on Tuesday, 21 April 2020