First and foremost let me say that Bloom by Dan Kassel is incredible. I invite you to read the rest of this review but I urge you to take a listen to this music. There are a couple of tidbits of information that may make this album even sweeter to listen to. The album almost entirely features the cello except for a few exceptions such as the instruments Westerners may not be completely familiar with such as the Djembe and the Nepali madal. Kassel sounds like a band as he plucks, uses a traditional bow and even taps to make a vast array of percussive noises. Bloom uses multiple layers to create often meditative, tranquil atmospheres that have influence from the East as well as places you wouldn't expect. He covers “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N Roses and “Teardrop” from Massive Attack. An interesting side note is that while it is impressive he layed down every track by himself in the studio he also plays this live with a loop station. Ok, this is something I want to see.
Even though there is a meditative quality to the music I wasn’t falling asleep. In fact, the songs have a lot of energy and crackle with enough variety to keep you engaged. Take for example “Sneaky 7” which has a Persian vibe that often made me think of a song a belly dancer might swing her hips to. “Rivers” is a slower song that is beautiful and sad at the same. The strings sound as if they are moaning almost in the same way the trumpets did on Laughing Stock by Talk Talk. The layers sound as if it’s one instrument and it is hard to differentiate where one overdub started and another one began. “Space Race” relies on the swiftness of his hand as he plucks the strings while also using his bow to demonstrate the versatility of this dynamic instrument. “Pride Eternal” has a sweet comforting feeling as if you are staring out at the plains of America while on a road trip. It brings with it a certain sense of nostalgia that wasn't apparent on some of the other tracks. I have heard “Sweet Child O’ Mine” way too many times but Kassel’s version breathed new life into it. The strings brought an emotional reaction that is much different than the original one. The album closes with a very traditional sounding song called “Village Song.”
I'm very happy to have discovered this artist. I love the sound of the cello but Kassel brings out a circus of noises that I wasn't even aware could be made by the instrument.
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