Ari Joshua – “Dragons Layer”


“Dragons Layer” is an electrifying instrumental rocker, featuring some very notable artists from NYC’s avant-garde scene. John Medeski (electric organ) and Billy Martin (drums) are among the notable collaborators, known worldwide as members of the legendary act Medeski Martin & Wood. Also adding to the track on upright bass is Jason Fraticelli, a composer and bandleader also known also his work with Cyro Baptista and Matisyahu.

This esteemed trio seamlessly joins the talents of Ari Joshua, an artist who has impressed with a variety of collaborations this year — from a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World” to the epic psych-rocker “Kambo Wambo.”

Joshua wrote and arranged the track with the talented MMW collaborators in mind. “John and Billy are the masters of being vulnerable and just stepping out into the unknown, and I composed Dragon Layer with them in mind,” Joshua says. “I listened to a bunch of early John Zorn, MMW, and Marc Ribot, mixed that with a bit of Amon Tobin vibes, and then that feeling of winding up this little jack in the box musical toy I have in my studio.”

Recorded across multiple days in a Woodstock, NY barn, “Dragons Layer” compels with its eclectic stylistic reach and overall mystique. Medeski’s electric organ infusions add an eerie underlying, mesmerizing with a chilly, autumnal briskness. Martin’s dexterous percussive work excels throughout, maintaining a brisk energy amidst the colorful assortment of instrumentation. Fraticelli’s bass work bolsters beautifully, echoing an ’80s lush nostalgia in its reflective tones. “Dragons Layer” is another striking success from Ari Joshua and a cast of all-star talents.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of October 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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