Review

John Carroll Kirby

Dance Ancestral

Stones Throw • 2022

»I imagine Laraaji waking up feeling blessed and inspired by the sun,« commented John Carroll Kirby, ahead of the release of his new album, Dance Ancestral. And he knows himself what that sounds like. Kirby has been working for years as a producer, composer and session musician. His list of collaborations is as long as it is prominent: Solange, The Avalanches, Frank Ocean, Harry Styles, Shabazz Palaces and others. Nevertheless, he was precisely in need of Laraaji for these two lines: »Dawn of a new day, morning light, morning light.« Cringe. This is how these lines would sound from any other artist. But not from Laraaji, who worked with Brian Eno decades ago on an album in the Ambient series. However, »Dance Ancestral«, John Carroll Kirby’s fifth album with Stones Throw, needs the audience to have an open ear for esotericism and New Age anyway. Even apart from these two lines. The clear funk influence such as on »Frog Life« does not suit the type of music played in a physiotherapy practice, but the US musician from Los Angeles clearly incorporates a spiritual approach on this album. A subtle bass provides the groundwork, but playful melodies like on »Messages in Water« bubble away in between. Everything flows. Which fits in with the idea of this record. It is loosely about exactly one day, but not divided up into hours. There’s an intuitive dance to it. Apart from Laraaji’s performance, »Dance Ancestral« remains appropriately spherically instrumental. The result: a meditative sound that turns extrovert. Whoever enters feels inspired by more than just the sun.

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John Carroll Kirby
Dance Ancestral
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