Dr. Pete Larson and his Cytotoxic Nyatiti Band: Damballah LP (Dagoretti Records, 2021)

October 25, 2021 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dr. Pete Larson and his Cytotoxic Nyatiti Band: Damballah LP

Ethnomusicologist Dr. Pete Larson continues his studies of the Kenyan nyatiti in a rock band context with his Cytotoxic Nyatiti Band’s latest and (so far) best LP. Here joined by guitarist Fred Thomas, percussionist Mike List, and multi-instrumentalist Dave Sharp, the record is a stunning fusion of swirling psych guitars, earthy rhythms, and delicately hypnotic nyatiti playing. The album’s title, Damballah, refers to “the spirit of fertility, goodness and knowledge symbolized by the two snakes” (an image which appeared on the band’s last album’s cover). The nyatiti is the heartbeat at the center of these six songs, and the guitar and synth textures stretch out into intense but comforting waves. A really nice balance of hazy drone and driving energy. Just remarkable, can’t go wrong with this one.

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