Up Jumped The Devil is a new Stereo DXD recording from Carmen Gomes Inc. featuring the music of blues great Robert Johnson. It has already earned rave reviews and a perfect 5 Star rating from listeners and reviewers. By framing each of Robert Johnson’s songs with small instrumental miniatures, Carmen Gomes Inc. have created an album that sounds like an imaginary road movie.
The album uses two Josephson C700A microphones (vocal and bass) added to the central Josephson C700S as well as an ambient spaced pair of Josephson C617 microphones up high as the main source of ambience. The benefit sound wise, compared to a pure One Microphone Recording, is the sound of Carmen’s voice and the double bass will not suffer when the band at certain moments raises the dynamic level.
Listening to this album, one perceives Robert walking late at night, en route in the Mississippi Delta, reflecting on his life. The low A, 27.5 Hz, from the bowed down tuned double bass representing the Mississippi night, the drums creating the sounds surrounding the night and the guitar being Robert’s mind.
More than playing parts, guitarist Folker Tettero and drummer Bert Kamsteeg are playing moods. I asked Bert to play the lyrics instead of the drums, a task I knew especially he would be able to fulfill. Throughout the album Folker is in constant dialogue with Carmen’s melody line, sometimes edging her on and at other times comforting her. Folker decided to use an electric 12 string guitar on the small miniatures. The sounds he creates adds a whole new aspect to his musicianship and emphasizes his deep affinity for the blues. Carmen is at the top of her game here. Her ‘never the same way twice’ saxophone like phrasing showing her jazz heritage and why jazz is in such great debt to the blues. Love in Vain being a good example.
Arranging Robert Johnson’s songs for Carmen Gomes Inc. was less difficult than I expected. Somehow each song was telling me instantly what to do. Even ‘When You Got a Good Friend’, with its J.S. Bach inspired counterpoint or ‘Love In Vain’ where the harmony used has more to do with bebop than blues, were written very quickly. It was as if they materialized instead of having to be arranged. The same goes for the instrumental compositions which were made on the spot, they took no effort, they played themselves.
A big thank you goes out to Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow. Their book: ‘Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson’ has been very helpful in clarifying Robert Johnson’s life and lyrics as well as being a direct inspiration on the mood of the whole album.
— Peter Bjørnild
Carmen Gomes Inc.
Carmen Gomes – Vocals
Folker Tettero – Guitar
Peter Bjørnild – Double Bass
Bert Kamsteeg – Drums
Total time: 00:45:19
Merging Technologies, Horus
Frans de Rond
Main central microphone: Josephson C700S, Support microphone Carmen: Josephson C700A, Support microphone Peter's bass: Josephson C700A, Ambience microphones spaced pair of 2 Josephson C617
|Original Recording Format|
Frans de Rond
MCO, Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on the 16th and the 17th of July 2020
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
TAD Compact Evolution
|Release Date||December 3, 2020|
Up Jumped The Devil is a Blues Jazz-tinged affair featuring songs by Robert Johnson. Rather than having clean breaks between tracks, the spaces normally between tracks are filled with what I can best describe as atmospherics, featuring drummer Bert Kampsteeg using his brushes on the snare and the bowing and plucking of the bass along with the clanging of the guitar. As a result, the songs almost blend all having a similar vibe and tempo, except for the penultimate track, Stop Breaking Down, which is much more upbeat.
The specialness of the sound of this recording is evident from the first few notes which feature the drums. The metallic sound of the cymbals and high hat is strikingly real as is the natural decaying of the notes. The kick drum is rock solid. This is some of the best sounding drum sound I have ever heard on a recording. Very dynamic and not reserved. The sound of the double bass is full, rich, and powerful where needed but with no hint of bloat. And the guitar…. It is clear and reverberant. Naturally, not with added reverb.
Of course, the vocals are captured beautifully. Carmen Gomes is right there in front of you. This recording doesn’t take you to the recording studio. Even better, it brings the recording studio to your listening room. Very few studio recordings do this. The drums to the left, Carmen in the middle in front of the instruments and the bass just to the right of her and the guitar to the right side of the soundstage. The sound is totally three dimensional. You almost feel like you can reach out and touch everyone. The sound is totally open with natural decay and depth. It is stunning. It really is. No hyperbole.
In addition to finding the sound of this recording to be superb, I also found the music to be really satisfying as well. That, of course, is always a matter of individual taste. I can state without question, that if you have enjoyed the other Carmen Gomes, Inc. releases by Sound Liaison, you will enjoy this release as well. Sonically, I believe this to be the best released by Sound Liaison. Well done, very well done.
Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.