11 Cha RanCha-Ran
Robert Lee
Independent (robertleebass.com)

Even before reading the notes, it is clear that Robert Lee is a storyteller. Every composition has a clear arc to it. The energy rises and falls, paced with patience and purpose as if choreographed. Structurally, the music possesses an enthralling contour that twists and detours, evoking major plot points. Metric modulation is consistently used in this sense, as a means of strongly distinguishing sections and establishing new scenery. Additionally, adding further intrigue, there are indelible moments of great specificity to be found in every track. One such example is the sudden clapping break in the middle of Peaks and Spires of the Summer Clouds, bridging the first two verses with a moment of ingenuity while simultaneously introducing a new layer to the rhythmic feel of the arrangement. Elsewhere you have the tranquil epilogue of Seun-Sul, where seemingly any other bandleader in existence would have opted for a fadeout ending after the blazing guitar climax. 

Lee’s writing process on this album pulls from the narrative styles of folktales and Studio Ghibli films, managing to do so without feeling derivative for a single second. Along with form, dialogue also plays a central role in the music. Lee’s bass tone is perpetually tuned into Tetyana Haraschuk’s ride cymbal, creating a textural foundation that simmers and makes for natural transitions between pieces. The fullness of Carolina Alabau’s voice as a constant factor creates space for subtextual counterpoint in the rhythm section.

Pin It
For a list of writings by this author, click the name above
More from this author:

Back to top