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Our April Tigers is an enigmatic title for an intriguing album from Michael Whalen accompanied by the immense talents of bassist Michael Manring, guitarist, Michael Brook, trumpeter Jeff Oster and percussionist/remixer Karsh Kale.

Commencing as a ‘what if’ moment, Whalen came up with the idea of creating a framework in the ambient style that could be filled in, or added to by other musicians, which did eventually take place and has resulted in a collection of work that is definitely out of the ordinary.

Every song has its own particular element of emotion, as each of the frameworks was sent out, each musician translating the piece into their own element, mixing it in their own studio and returning their segment to Whalen, to eventually weave into one song.

Layering the returned pieces has in itself developed an individual feel to each song that captures the imagination, commencing with the delightful Over Water, an intricate balance of sounds which tantalizes. Starting out as a delicate and yet mellow sound, this track develops a solid rhythm that is unexpected while retaining a dreamlike ambience.

Jeff Oster leads in Morning Bell a rhythmic, somewhat jaunty piece that is both light and captivating with many levels to be discovered. This piece or song, could be considered to be absolutely demonstrative of the captivating element of the recordings, in that there are many, many layers to the sound which encourages deep listening.

A most delightful intrigue, amongst the many, appears in the very funky Visceral Organ. The sound of instruments mixed with alchemical electronics create a distinctly ‘spooky’ impression, which has been captured almost as a vibrant ‘Big Band’ sound. An amazing song full of contrast.

In a collection of outstanding pieces Hope Haunts is enchanting and really, nothing further needs to be said, other than perfection in one small moment of time.

Listening yet again to various pieces as the mood takes me, the haunting So Fragile captures a deeply reflective moment, enhanced with a delicate balance of Oster on horns, which ties the elements together beautifully.

 A vibrant, pulsating conclusion bursts into full blooded life with Temporality, which certainly lets it all go, as the mood is fast paced, rapid, synonymous of Whalen’s usual style, but indicative of a group of talented musicians being completely in the moment, signing off on what Michael Whalen considers as his best yet work. One would have to agree.

Our April Tigers is Fusion at its very best and takes the music of ambient electronica into another dimension completely. Overall, a very exciting work within the ambient, electronic field and one it is hoped, there is more of being created.

Distributor Spout/MWM
Released April 2023
Running Time 33min 1sec
Artists Michael Whalen with Michael Manring, Michael Brook, Jeff Oster and Karsh Kale.