Wingless Angles

Anyone that reads this blog knows that I get on trips, write about the same subject a lot for a week or even a month, and then move on.  This blog is a catalog of my obsessions to some degree.  Right now my obsession is Jamaican music.  A record I have long admired is the self titled album by Wingless Angels.  It’s nyabinghi drumming and singing recorded live outside in Jamaica.  The albums producer, none other than Keith Richards, overdubbed instruments, with a few others, after the original tracks were recorded.  It’s beautiful meditative music.  It’s spiritual music in the best sense.  Richards does a great job with producing, adding just the right amount of overdubs to make the songs varied and colorful.  (Although Keith’s bass playing is the one thing that is merely adequate.)  You can hear the crickets chirping in the night giving the record a sense of true mystery, as nature itself plays a roll in the recordings.  I remember at the time of the album’s release Richards saying that the tempos were just below the rate of a human heartbeat, that it is healing music.  Who know’s how much bullshit Keef was talking, but the results certainly seem to support his musings.  Unlike a lot of music to “chill out” to, this album has rough edges, never allowing it to be something that could melt completely unnoticed into the background.  Despite Richard’s important involvement, the singers and drummers, lead by Justin Hinds, are the true heart of the music.  It’s communal singing where every one sounds moved by the spirit.  It is singing that is in the moment and ghostly at the same time.  If you ever find that it is a damp, drizzly November in your soul, this is a record that can calm the waters and transport you.  Although there are a lot of Jamaican records that I like better, this is a unique piece of work that deserves to be heard for the particular mood that it casts.

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