By: Bo Nuanual
The jovial and benevolent elves who work around the clock behind-the-scenes at The Untz firmly believe it’s crucial that the human race always keeps their musical libraries well fed with relevant works of art created with the seeds of positive intention. Chillstep and downtempo vibrations can create time-spaces for healthy introspection and these moments of self-reflection are trailheads that - if explored - can help us to evolve as individuals as well as a planetary organism.
Our helper elves whom typically try to keep a low profile and rarely send messages to the outside world have urged the writers at The Untz to tune you all in to Kaleidoscope Jukebox who earlier this year produced the positively trippy 12-track album, Into the Ocean. The roughly 100 minute album was released under the Unpossible Sounds label and we got to hand it to the elves - they have impeccable tastes in music! This album is up-the-alley of Bonobo, Emancipator, Frameworks, Stèv, Massive Attack, Random Rab, Govinda, and Thievery Corporation fans, alike. Whether you're into dancing or just straight vibin' take a listen - it will not disappoint.
Clint Carty, who is based out of Bloomington, Indiana, is Kaleidoscope Jukebox. With close ties to Desert Dwellers, Carty has also gained attention from the likes of Thievery Corporation, Living Light, The Archives, and Thomas Blondet. Late at night, the elves typically blast Kaleidoscope Jukebox’s downtempo, trip-hop, and world music tracks with genuine ear-to-ear smiles on their faces and as stewards of these elves; we are going to act as middle man and break down the album giving you the play-by-play. Chill? Chill!
The album opens up with the title track, “Into the Ocean.” Resonant xylophone, stretched out string notes, and milky piano keys remind us of getting lost on a Thai beach somewhere along the Andaman Sea. An angelic choir sits well atop the acoustic percussion of a drum circle with light symbols in this soft lullaby. This song takes you on an empowering journey where you can find helpings of strength and courage.
Track two, “The Awakening,” is no misnomer. Insistent cello voices and piano carry a delayed sitar that guides a transformational melody. You did not know it before, but you have been going through your very own transformational journey recently. But, it’s just clear to you now - as you emerge from your cocoon and haze - that you were changing turbulently and caught inside a storm. Now, with a modest distance between you and the storm, you have gained a little perspective and can finally see the magnitude of your own self-growth.
The elves and I don't always see eye to eye, but we can both agree that we love, “Sounds and Thoughts.” Track three imposes deep reflection upon us and is our shaman and guide. The bass line is solid as fuck and Carty’s percussion selection here lays a solid foundation for angelic flow, which is currently releasing the tension in my neck. Walk into an ancient forest within your mind; travel deeper and deeper. This piece creates massive spaces for deep esoteric introspection. Before stepping out into that concrete jungle grind, hit play to this track and wipe those cobwebs free for that long overdue head cleaning.
“Creation” has a solid dance vibe to it. Track four definitely has more drive and visceral energy than the first three heady tracks. This is the track where alluring and woke hippies spin and twirl with serpentine movements - weaving and spreading positive energy and smiles for days. Although probing your gut feelings, the track gives us the Kaleidoscope Jukebox signature introspective wormhole. It’s got me feeling; eat well, hydrate, do good, respect and love yourself and others. Can you catch my drift? The super low frequency and oscillating sounds towards the back end of the track are didgeridoo-esque and faultless. The elves feel strongly that this is a model soundtrack for movement and flow arts.
We absolutely fucking love the string heavy song, “Pouring Out,” featuring Leeann Skoda! Choice lyrics built on unique vocal patterns pluck at our heart chords. Quick-witted bass lines juxtaposed true string selections synch together perfectly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This track is glued together with a small piano and higher octave soft guitar notes; and my foot can’t stop tapping. This is perfect for a “chillout zone” where there are rules against and prohibiting bad vibes. If you suddenly find yourself in a dark and twisted headspace, you can find the light with this track.
The album breaks out into a trip-hop meets East exploration track with, “Parvati’s Singing Bowl.” There are central Asian and gypsy vibes left and right. At the center of this creation is a slow and calmness. This maverick and novel ballad caters to a variety of activities and does not discriminate; do yoga, go dance, walk through the forest, bust ass at work and focus, explore your mind on a solo car ride - this is for everything. If you bust it out on a dance floor however, we would expect it to get weird and beautiful with plenty of room for the upper body’s exploration of space. Explore the mystic and get in touch with a number of ancient traditions to this tune that wears many hats.
Track seven, “Shadows (Her Sadness),” featuring Jacqueline Pingul paints a picture of harmony and balance within our minds. The elves and I had a conversation about this last night and we all agree that this tune - under the right light - delicately incorporates the shadow (In Jungian psychology; everything outside the realm of individual consciousness). To put it in terms of an Eastern perspective, balance is the embrace and hand shake between the Yin and the Yang. The Yin (Dark swirl), is associated with shadows and femininity. The Yang (light swirl), represents brightness and growth. This song reminds us of how important and often overlooked the shadow elements within us are to harmony and balance. Reflect on your shadow and all that is unconscious within you; here you can find hidden positivity and harness untapped creative energy.
Switching gears, track eight takes us down to the dirty south way deep in the sticks with, “Deep Bayous.” This blues influenced ripper intersects with both trip-hop and psychedelic vectors. If the elves ever had time to leave The Untz headquarters, this track would be detonating in their heads as they found themselves prancing into a dimly lit bar somewhere in the Deep South along the I-10 corridor in search of whiskey bottles and sexual pleasures. There is certainly a sexual energy about this mysterious hymn. Word for word the elves instructed me to tell you all to “Make sure to wrap it up, folks!”
Mischief and playful jesting abound when you tune into, “The Little Toy Jukebox.” Dub curious and jazz components create an audio environment where the darker vibes of confusion, mystery, and possibly devious intentions reign supreme. If there were a Norse god lurking about in this tune, it quite probably would be Loki the troublemaker. Don't forget however, Loki is here to playfully guide us toward an eventual truth.
Track ten, “Knowledge and Awareness,” is a blend of Eastern European, reggae, and dub notes. Carty brings violin and a groovy bass line to the party. Get a roaring fire stoked with your homies and crank this up loud as fuck to get the dance party started. This is the kindling to ignite an evening of playful dance and fun light hearted times.
A blend of trip-hop, jazz, and reggae influences congregate in, “Onwards Upwards.” An optimistic violin moves us alongside the steady enrichment of guitar picks and trumpet blasts. Listening to this piece makes me feel like a performance monkey dancing in a busy Saturday bazaar wearing nothing but a red vest and a most appropriate Fez on my head. DANCE, MONKEY, DANCE! This is most definitely a day time dance party anthem and the horns are pulling us into the thick of it!
This massive full-length album and musical diaspora lands on its feet with the rad closer, “The Big Idea.” A blazing bass line supports tribal acoustic rhythms. Throw in some soft glitches? Yes, please! We are enchanted by the jazzy flute, electric guitar, sitar, reggae and Asiatic vibes. This track is like jumping on a bullet train that encircles the entire globe. Like the bullet train, it is designed to cover large distances at an incredible speed and yet, inside and onboard the train the atmosphere is serene and chill as fuck! Break out your passports on track 12 because you are totally going on a journey.
So, by now it should be more than obvious why Kaleidoscope Jukebox has attracted the attentions of our ominous and typically secretive in-house helper elves as well as heavy hitters like Desert Dwellers and Thievery Corp. We love the incorporated breadth of musical influences and styles that span the globe on Into the Ocean. Contemplation, meditation, self-reflection, and playful dancing all have a place to call home on Clint Carty’s latest masterpiece. The positivity, balance, and higher-plane intentions that make up the basis for this album are undeniable and a breath of fresh air. Make sure to catch Kaleidoscope Jukebox live in Chicago, Illinois (August 6) or at the Novo Gathering Music and Arts Festival in College Corner, Ohio (October 7-8).
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