Carlos Niño & Friends

(I’m Just) Chillin’, On Fire

International Anthem • 2023

You have to be free of any fear of unctuous spirituality to get anywhere with this album. »Ground shaking stillness« opens with a divine female voice invoking the ancestors, and the following track features a bearded man whispering »I love you« over a campfire. Just don’t let yourself be distracted. Just experience it as pure music. Actually, the album is meant to be a response to that. So when asked if Carlos Niño really is a shaman, the answer is: No, no! »(I’m Just) Chillin’, On Fire«. So, no worries then – it’s only music. In fact, good music; very wonderful music. This ambient spiritual jazz stuff does a few things really well: There’s lots of spoken word, plenty of beat, and not very much new-age kitsch. The album is conceived as a single harmony, as a whole; an extraordinary achievement considering that it was recorded in very different places with very different musicians. There’s something in the background, wafting and weaving the pieces together. The tranquillity this creates is a blessing. The great thing about it is that you can feel the album’s aspiration. Contrary to the title and the trivial signs of spirituality in the lyrics, the whole work gives the impression of really wanting to be just that. The pieces are carefully arranged and contrast with each other. It never stops, and yet never gets boring. You follow the current and the little yellow bird. And in the end, you thank the ancestors for the silence they created on earth.