Book of Travelers

Book of Travelers

by Gabriel Kahane

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Overview

Gabriel Kahane returns to follow up 2016's The Ambassador with another concept album, of sorts. Whereas The Ambassador offered insight into Los Angeles via the appropriation of an array of characters both imagined and real, his latest was conceived during an 8,980-mile road trip through the United States with no phone or internet. He embarked on the journey in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and, inspired by the strangers he met along the way, Kahane created a song cycle that he later performed at BAM, and that eventually become Book of Travelers. Musically, the record is much sparser than its predecessor, largely replacing the sound of a full band with just Kahane's voice and keys. It's also, in many respects, less direct. The multitude of colorful characters -- sometimes comical, often tragic -- lent The Ambassador an ambitious reach matched by its creator's ability to imbue his songs with a sense of intimacy. What both albums share is Kahane's huge capacity for empathy, perhaps most affectingly evident on the album closer "Singing with a Stranger." Equally, much like his previous efforts, tracks like "Little Love" demonstrate his gift for genuinely touching melodies that err on just the right side of saccharine. As usual, Kahane weaves in his varied background to include modern chamber music, subtle folk lilts, a pop sensibility, and an underlying jazz sensation. Yet, despite all the connections, it feels like quite a lonely album, which perhaps makes it an apt document of the days that followed an event that divided a nation. While Book of Travelers may be a less-immediate collection than some of his previous work, its contemplative nature is worth investing a significant amount of time in. ~ Bekki Bemrose

Product Details

Release Date: 08/24/2018
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597929430
catalogNumber: 571525

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