Most of the time, when people talk about world music (or world beat or whatever), they’re usually talking about one very specific thing, a particular style or flavor, whether it's delightfully obscure, like, say, Tuvan throat-singing or Balinese gamelan music, or maybe something less specific, like Afro-pop or Latin-influenced jazz. But when Roger Ebacher says he's got a new world beat album, chances are the Port musician is gonna throw the whole world at you, all at once, one style at a time. Which is pretty much what he does on "Airstream," the fifth album from Air Department, a duo with former Amesbury percussionist Dennis Pelletier, which, over the past few years, has been throwing together some very different sounds that jell on an emotional, if not exactly stylistic, level. Released last week, "Airstream" puts the spotlight back on the melody flute, the unique wind instrument most often associated with the multi-instrumentalist, as well as the Casio DH-100 Digital Horn, another wind instrument whose limits Ebacher has pushed the limits "beyond all reasonable expectations," as he puts it, while managing to find a cohesiveness in the music. The digital horn is also the reason this duo is able to make such a big sound.It’s a six-song collection of music with earthy grooves and deep textures. It's a little Brazilian, a little Middle Eastern — even a little Indian. It’s mostly a solo album. Scheduling and geographic issues made it difficult to collaborate with Pelletier, a former Amesbury percussionist now living in western Massachusetts, who goes back with Ebacher to the 1970s, when they played together in Timestream, a seven-piece jazz band with a punk attitude. "So I just kind of went for it, seizing the moment," he says. "That's how this one came to fruition."
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