Boomkat Product Review:
*Beautiful new album from Mike Cooper, out now via Room 40* Mike Cooper returns with another wondrous album bringing together his unique lap steel playing with stylistic influences that frame him somewhere between the exotica of Martin Denny, the modulated electronic-jazz of Move D’s Conjoint, and Alice Coltrane’s spiritual evocations. "Fratello Mare” was recorded during 2014 and is described by Cooper as a "continuing ode to the Pacific, its people and the traditions that have flowed from that part of the world into seemingly endless iterations within contemporary culture..” Cooper’s playing is so distinctive that it ties these disparate elements into a weird, sometimes chaotic - but always carefully balanced juxtaposition of styles that would no doubt have come off as heavy-handed guided by a lesser talent. Cooper’s lap-steel sits at the heart of each of the 11 pieces included, from the psychic jazz of "Street Beneath the Beach”, to the gently padding tropical scapes of the title track and into the percolating, drum-machine-guided fever-dream of the incredible "Notes from My Pacific Log”, a track that recalls the Moritz Von Oswald Trio at their evocative best. Cooper is a unique, highly individual talent and, for our money, 'Fratello Mare’ is his finest, most engaging work to date.