Mike Tamburo and His Orchestra – Ghosts of Marumbey
(New American Folk Hero/Music Fellowship 2006, NAFH16/MF27)

From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)

The latest effort from Arco Flute Foundation member Mike Tamburo starts with some evocative John Fahey influenced acoustic guitar on the opening cut, Two Doors From the Corner. The guitar builds slowly, beautifully, melodically, with gentle washes of synth flowing beneath. It’s a fairly inauspicious beginning. But gradually the electronic sounds begin to take on more noise as the whole piece dissolves into sheets of spacey ambience. And nothing on Ghosts of Marumbey is normal after that.

Mike Tamburo and his numerous and varied guests explore a sonic landscape steeped in burnt out industry and rural ambience and informed by haunted souls. On Beneath the River, a murky flow of atmospherics, bells, and bubbling tones builds to something resembling an industrial song, but these are the creaking rhythms of a rusted, abandoned industry. Six Minutes After Breathing starts with some weird, stray singing reminiscent of psychedelic folksters Akron/Family, before it slides into a shimmering, distant industrial haze that builds slowly into a strange, buzz-filled jam built around a plonky bass line that sounds like something from an early Pink Floyd record. Oh My Lord, Please Spare This Soul From These Demon Hauntings pairs gloomy beats with a muddy haze of sound that swirls around them like thick and gooey oil. And Death Will Be No Resting (Tigers Walk in Circles Around Their Dead) punctuates processional bells on a haunted landscape with odd, retro-futuristic electronic bleeps. The title track, which closes the album, returns to the initial simplicity of the opening piece, this time with just a solo resonator guitar, picked with a kind of frantic sense of exploration as Mike Tamburo leaves us standing and wondering at the side of his very singular road, watching him walk off into the fog bound distance.

Ghosts of Marumbey is not just acoustic music, not just ambient music, not just noise exploration; it’s a merging of all these things, a complex sonic voyage for the adventurous of ear.

For more information, visit: http://www.miketamburo.com
Also visit: http://www.musicfellowship.com
And: http://www.myspace.com/newamericanfolkhero

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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