Kodo - Mondo Head

Mondo Head

(Red Ink/Sony)

The Music Box's #10 album for 2002

First Appeared at The Music Box, June 2002, Volume 9, #6

Written by John Metzger


Where most rock drummers have issued solo recordings that reproduce tepid approximations of whatever their primary forte happens to be, the Grateful Deadís Mickey Hart has leapt light years beyond them. His life outside the band has been spent scouring the Earth, studying various cultures and their relationships to both music and sound. And everything he has learned has come pouring through each of his subsequent recordings.

Hartís latest undertaking revolves around the Japanese percussion ensemble Kodo ó a group that bases its sound on traditional taiko drumming. Like Hartís own projects, Kodoís attention to detail is unparalleled. Each sound is carefully placed and perfectly executed so as to create a huge rhythmic dance so powerful, so overwhelming that one canít help but to be moved. Therefore a collaboration between Hart and Kodo makes for the perfect union, and although it took twenty years, the relationship has culminated in Mondo Head. The album was recorded at Hartís private studio as an all-star ensemble of world music legends ó including Airto Moreira, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, Michael Hinton, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobi Cťspedes, and the Gyoto Tantric Choir ó gathered for over twenty hours of improvisational jams. The best of these were selected and then overdubbed by Hart and Kodo to create the free-flowing grooves that fill Mondo Head.

Make no mistake ó those who never found enjoyment during the drums and percussion segments that the Grateful Dead routinely worked into its sets, won't find Mondo Head (or any of Hartís solo releases, for that matter) to be worth the investment of their time. But then again, those folks are also missing out on some rather remarkable material. Hartís cross-cultural pollination of rhythmic styles is truly phenomenal, and here, he brings Kodo into his "Planet Drum" world.  Shades of Supralingua and Spirit into Sound bubble through the colossal grooves.  As a result, each track becomes a magical journey as an assortment of drums, bells, flutes, cymbals, and vocals engage and converse with one another, coalescing into a supernal stream of tribal beats and rhythms.

The Indian Sufi master Inayat Khan once said, "For a musician, music is the best way to unite with God." Fortunately, the rest of us can hitch a ride on the rapturous rhythms of Mondo Head. starstarstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Floratone - Floratone / self-titled

Mickey Hart / Zakir Hussain - Global Drum Project

John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius, Tony Williams - Trio of Doom


Mondo Head is also available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box