Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog : Connection Review
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog’s Connection: A Sonic Kaleidoscope With Its Own Groove
Marc Ribot—the polymath guitarist and inveterate activist—alongside bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, concoct this musical potion called Connection. Now, for those innocent in the Marc Ribot experience: envision a man on a guitar wielding it like Thor’s hammer, only with dexterity that defies the confines of musical genres. Oh, they’ve got guests, too—each one an ingredient adding zesty overtones to the already dynamic album.
“Connection” kicks the door wide open with a rambunctious two-note riff that tunes into a vibe—mysterious yet beckoning, veering towards the well-trodden but bursting with its own unique energy. It’s as if Jack White and Joe Strummer met at a speakeasy and jammed until the wee hours, distilling the atmosphere into this singular, unshakable melody.
Swinging the pendulum towards experimentation, “Subsidiary” offers you the musical equivalent of an adrenaline shot. Picture Ribot’s guitar as an electric storm, buzzing and rumbling, while Ismaily and Smith construct a seismic underbelly, as monumental as a rock god’s ego. The fuzz on Ribot’s voice serves as the salt on the rim of this avant-garde Margarita. What’s this distortion if not the auditory representation of the song’s angst?
Now, let’s salsa our way into “Ecstacy”—a track that pulls its inspiration from Latin music. The opening lines, delivered by guest vocalist Syd Straw, have a clear, poetic chime that reminds you of a smoky poetry reading, only with more rhythm and allure. Ribot’s guitar switches from the sultry Latin montuno to celestial chords. His solo is a voyage, paying homage to the song’s heart, evoking the spirits of Frank Zappa and Carlos Santana. It’s Woodstock meets Havana, my friends.
The album sways, topples, but never falls. Ceramic Dog sticks to its no-wave roots, providing an auditory anchor for listeners navigating the high seas of this musical journey. Ribot’s lyrics are stripped-down, focusing on evoking feelings rather than tangling us in complex allegory. The result is that Connection feels more like an anthology of compelling short stories rather than a sweeping epic. Is that a flaw? Well, beauty—or, in this case, cohesiveness—is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
In a world swamped with predictability, Connection leaps from the musical swamp like a neon frog—unconventional and impossible to ignore. It challenges norms while stretching the boundaries of its genre. What makes this album genuinely magnetic is not just the experimental notes or the versatile influences, but the promise of an experience—of connecting, relating, and interpreting. So, pop this into your playlist. Because, honestly, the treasure isn’t just in listening, but in discovering your own unique ‘connections’ to this beautifully chaotic ensemble.
Yes, Ceramic Dog! Your Connection is a call to connect the unconnected dots of musical norms and expectations. What will you find when you connect? Ah, there’s only one way to find out. Happy listening!
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog’s
July 14, 2023