Trash And Burn: NOMO Tear It Up at Bottom Of The Hill


Space-age bachelor-pad theremins and fuzzed-out riffage meet going-places-fast brass and West African twang? You get that and ‘mo when it comes to NOMO, performing Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Bottom of the Hill.

Hot only begins to describe the Michigan combo. With its latest full-length, Invisible Cities (Ubiquity), the nine-piece took it to a new imaginary interzone between Africa and America, global dance music and ascendant jazz. It all happens under the leadership of Elliot Bergman, who has a knack for turning musical trash into treasures. For Invisible Cities, Bergman gathered a slew of street sweeper tines outside the studio the group was working at -- UFO Factory in Detroit -- and with the donation of hardwood scraps from a local lumber mill, made the electric kalimbas that are used on the disc (apparently you too can score one of Bergman’s newly made electric kalimbas via the Ubiquity site).

Reuse, recycling, and re-appropriation are key to Invisible Cities, which also finds its road map in the Italo Calvino book of the same name. This is a world -- and world music -- reimagined: new realms boosted by rippling, baroque sax lines and an inexorable groove; new reconfigurations -- among, say, the bamboo flutes that dart among those kalimbas on “Crescent” -- and new ways to rework, for instance, Moondog (old fire extinguishers are given the steel drum treatment in “Bumbo”). NOMO are finding a wondrous spot, worthy of exploration, in the sonic junkyard exploited by such musical visionaries as Tom Waits and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, so let the party begin among the ruins.

NOMO play Tuesday, Feb. 2,  9:30 p.m., at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. Actors open. $10-$12. (415) 621-4455.

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