Eight years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut, In November Sunlight, Charlottesville, VA-based band Soko have released their second full-length album, Two. Two's 12 tracks comprise a diversity of styles that range in tone and instrumentation from African/world beat to rock, fusion, and new age. Simple vocal/piano duets like 'On the Matter of Coping' give way to layered arrangements of strings, horns, guitars, percussion and vocal choir, such as the 16-minute 'Joy of Love.' Each composition inhabits it's own discrete world and features it's own instrumentation, including various combinations of talking drum, nylon string guitar, piano, bass, vocals, strings, xylophone, and electric guitar. The album contains freshly arranged concert staples from the band's performing years in the 90s ('Plant the Sky,' 'Dark Beam of the Seine,' 'Antidote,' 'The In-between'), new studio collaborations ('Joy of Love,' 'Bamboo Cool,' 'Speak Up,' 'On the Matter of Coping'), and a breathtaking cover of Lennon/McCartney's 'Rain.' Soko Two shows the band moving away from a piano/bass/drums trio format to featuring the writing & recording duo of Houston Ross (bass, vocals, talking drum, log drum, percussion triggers, nylon string guitar) and Michael Sokolowski (piano, synthesizers, tar, bells, xylophone, shakers, percussion triggers, electric guitar). In November Sunlight, the band's debut album, was praised by All Music Guide for it's 'picturesque melodies' and 'exceptional musicianship.' It showcased contributions from Dave Matthews, LeRoi Moore, and Tim Reynolds of DMB association, and has been a popular seller internationally. The guest musicians who contribute to Two, include virtuoso guitarist Reynolds, Grammy-nominated cellist David Darling, former Soko drummer John Gilmore, percussionist Obayanna Olumide, and jazz trumpeter John D'Earth, among many other talented artists. Rob Evans engineered and mixed the album, and Grammy Award-winning engineer Bob Katz mastered the album. A booklet within the disc's beautiful packaging contains a gallery of pictures by two very different artists: Bay Area oil & canvas dreamweaver, Dean Gustafson and Charlottesville's pioneering nature imagist, John Grant. Two: Soko's long-awaited second album, the advent of the band as duo, and featuring track-by-track artwork by two powerful visual artists.
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