by Tom Haugen
An artist armed with the 21 string Mandinka Harp (i.e. Kora) and the Turkish Oud, Kane Mathis is in the company of John Hadfield and Sam Minaie as the trio embrace traditional and modern elements as the songs of Geminus progress in unpredictable and harmonic fashions.
“Route Des Jardins” starts the listen with fascinating, absorbing string manipulation as Hadfield’s well timed percussion complements the swift pace, and “Kurdi Oud Taksim” follows with a brief display of complicated and rhythmic finger acrobatics from Mathis’ very capable talent.
In the middle, “August” flows with both calm and busy moments of stringed beauty as Minaie’s proficient bass leaves an indelible mark, while “Chant” is nothing short of breathtaking in its sublime climate of shimmering song craft. “Muhayyer Kurdi Semai”, one of the record’s best, then embraces timeless Eastern qualities as shades of classical music also enter the landscape.
Deeper still, “Gemini” is a percussively strong and playfully meticulous mix of cultured songwriting, and “Nikriz Sirto” finishes the listen with nothing short of exceptional musicianship that radiates timelessness.
A listen that often sounds like it’s rooted in Africa or the Middle East, Mathis and company laid these tracks down live across 3 days, and it illustrates much technical skill while also being universally enjoyable in its classical, World Music and jazz tinted exploration.