Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog - Hope
Cat. no: YEB7815
Release Date: 25th June 2021
By May 2020, Marc Ribot had begun to find being depressed depressing. The guitarist who’s performed with Tom Waits, Jack McDuff, Diana Krall and countless others and his Ceramic Dog trio - bassist/multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith - hadn’t played for months.
So, all involved decided to head to Ismaily’s Figure 8 Recording studio in Brooklyn to record what would become ‘Hope’.
The band, which has been releasing music since 2008, devised an order of operations to enter the studio, wash their hands and set up at a safe remove. Ribot, Ismaily and Smith never actually saw each during the sessions because of the safeguards; they were working to keep the bassist’s “fucked up” lungs from compromising his health. But because of Ismaily’s technical facility, they all “heard each other better than ever,” Ribot said. With precautions in place, the trio set about capturing eight originals that reflect the era’s uncertainty and cap it with a reimagining of Donovan’s “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” where the trio turns the idealistic psych-folk effort into a ruminative, spoken-word piece.
“Wanna,” a tune on the new album, simply reflects the band’s incalculable joy at being able to play some rock ’n’ roll again. But on a few songs [check out “B Flat Ontology”] Ribot flexes minimalist storytelling skills to sketch life’s ennui - a kind of pointlessness that goes far beyond existentialism. “My ‘No Wave’ roots are showing” Ribot said about “They Met In The Middle,” a tune that pulses and shuffles, and benefits from the outside contribution of alto saxophonist Darius Jones.
Tracks: B-Flat Ontology / Nickelodeon / Wanna / The Activist / Bertha The Cool / They Met In The Middle / The Long Goodbye / Maple Leaf Rage / Wer Your Love Like Heaven