Boomkat Product Review:
Kelman Duran fades to dusk on this killer, smeared new album of steamy, syncopated kicks, spiritual jazz and haunted, weightless textures, nailing a singular sort of ambient dembow folk modernism that comes with our highest possible recommendation - and especially so if yr feeling Nala Sinephro, Space Afrika, Tara Clerkin Trio, Amazondotcom, Klein, Chino Amobi.
A music of margins and shadows full of pent spirit, ‘Night In Tijuana’ was recorded in the titular border city while Kelman was working as a curator for Tijuana's Otras Obras gallery and finds him strafing between enervated ambient rap pressure and gnashing jazz drums with a real sense of purpose that conveys the worries and joys of his Latin diasporic community. Feeding in elements of classical music, sound collage, and a divergent Afro-Caribbean club pulse, it's a sonic representation of his musical fingerprint, that includes his childhood in Washington Heights and time studying at the prestigious Cal Arts institute - a delirious mix of dance culture and vivid, confident fine art.
From the fraught, anxiously gasping but disciplined drums of ‘Freddie King’, to the woodblock ‘Dancehall, Audubon Ballroom’, thru his flip of Arthur Blythe’s modal free jazz stylings in ‘Lower Nile’, to the dusted dembow techno of the title track, his drums and vibes perfectly say it without saying it thru the first two thirds of the album.
However, it’s the weightless aspects that come to define the album thru its recurrent ‘Aeon’ themes, defining its narrative arc into the final passages, between the smoked gloom of ‘South London BC’ and deftly string-heavy melancholy of ‘For Whitney’, with the ritualistic feel of ‘Night In Tijuana III’ giving way to the noirish masterstroke closure of ‘Last Cinema, (outro) II’, all orienting the album for smoked out nights, harnessing elements of club music to ink deeper elegies.