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The Yohimbe Brothers – The Tao Of Yo

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From Merriam Webster’s Medical Dictionary:

    “Yohimbe: a tropical African tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe syn. Corynanthe yohimbe) of the madder family whose bark yields the alkaloid yohimbine; also : a preparation of the bark that in herbal medicine is held to be useful as an aphrodisiac and in treating weakness and feebleness

The Yohimbe Brothers are turntablist DJ Logic and splatter-guitarist Vernon Reid. Does their music have desire-inducing properties? I suppose that depends on who ya ask. Can their music be used to treat “weakness and feebleness”. Ya know, I bet it could.

On The Tao of Yo, Logic and Reid add a few extra instruments (mostly bass and various forms of percussion) and a big team of guest vocalists (for spoken word, rappin’ and plain old singin’) to come up with, well…I’m not quite sure what it is.

Vernon Reid (probably best know as the guitarist from Living Colour) is all over the map here. It’s actually one of the charms of this record. In addition to Reid’s signature guitar-in-an-uncapped-blender soloing, we get oblique distortions (on the very African-percussion-by-way-of-Missy-Elliot opening track “Shine For Me”, which features Latasha Nevada Diggs), heavy duty sludge (“Secret Frequency, The”, “TV”), understated acoustic finger-tapestries (“30 Spokes”), a little delta blues slide (“Noh-Rio”) , sorta-bebop (“Unimportance”), jazz (“Perfect Traveller (Tourist Europe)”), reggae (“No Pistolas”) and even some tap-dancin’. Tap-dancin’? Yep, you can hear Maya Jenkins adding to the mix on several cuts. I haven’t heard that combination since Gregory Hines teamed with Jaco Pastorius.

What this all reminds me of is a funk/hip-hop version of the bands Praxis and Material. While those groups were all about combining ambience with snarling rock and “out” sounds, the Yohimbe Brothers are brewing up turntableism, found sound and street attitude.

Are you feeling week and feeble?

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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About Mark Saleski

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