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Sica, Mako / Hamid Drake: Balancing Tear  [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

A mix of studio and live recordings in the 2nd collaboration between Chicago's improvising rock trio Mako Sica of Przemyslaw Krys Drazek on trumpets & electric guitar, Brent Fuscaldo on bass and percussion, Chaetan Newell on piano & percussion, meeting with legendary drummer Hamid Drake for an album of expansive, psychedelically-tinged, lushly sonic improvisation.

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product information:

Limited edition of 500 copies.

UPC: B0851LN5Q9

Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS121LP
Squidco Product Code: 28653

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in Chicago at Electrical Audio, by Taylor Hales; Jamdek, by Doug Malone; Polytonal Productions, by Chaetan Newell; Constellation by Dave Zuchowski.


Hamid Drake-drum set, percussion

Przemyslaw Krys Drazek-trumpet, pocket trumpet, electric guitar

Brent Fuscaldo-voice, electric bass, classical guitar, harmonica, tibetan prayer bells, lightbulb

Chaetan Newell-acoustic piano, cello, drum set, electric piano, finger snaps, finger cymbals, sound effects, synthesizer, tambourine, ukulele, upright bass, viola

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Artist Biographies:

"Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free-jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 70s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career.

Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups)

He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks; using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake's questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae."

-Wikipedia (

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Przemyslaw Krys Drazek is a Polish trumpeter and guitarist living in Chicago, an original member of the free-rock trio Maco Sika.

-Squidco 10/20/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Brent Fuscaldo is a Chicago guitarist and vocalist, a member of the group Mako Sica.

-Squidco 10/20/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Having played music for as long as I can remember (my father is an accomplished Jazz and Soul drummer), music has always been a key ingredient in my life. From playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme on the drum set as a toddler, I have gone on to learn electric/classical/lap steel guitar, electric/upright bass, various keyboard instruments, most percussion instruments, and many old time instruments such as banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, and harmonica. I'm currently teaching myself viola.

In addition to the performing aspect of music, I am also experienced with writing/composition, recording/engineering/mixing/production, and design/manufacturing/distribution/vending of my own albums as well as those of others. However, none of these things bring me the same joy as teaching the ways of music to others. Fortunately, all of these skills integrate to bring about a clear view of the big picture in regards to music so I can better serve a wider variety of pupils and quickly reveal this big picture to all of them.

While I have indeed put a lot of time in touring and playing rowdy rock shows with many critically acclaimed and well-known musicians, I have also taken countless years of public and private lessons on guitar, bass, drums, piano, music theory, and songwriting from highly decorated and regarded teachers. As a child, I played in a nearly overwhelming amount of ensembles and attended various camps and seminars including Cannon Music Camp where I played with The North Carolina Symphony for two consecutive summers. This all prepared me for the Bachelors of Music I received from Berklee College of Music where I appeared on the Dean's List each semester. Now for the price of one instructor, you can learn from a man with as much knowledge as an entire faculty."

-TakeLessons (

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track listing:

1. Trapeze 7:39

2. The Unknown 12:24

3. Enchanted City 5:43

4. Trapeze / Maku (Live) 13:57
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"A glorious re-match for Chicago's superb free-rock trio, Mako Sica, and the jazz world's percussionist of choice, Hamid Drake. Their last collaboration, Ronda (FTR 409) was a glorious, open-ended studio conversation spread across two LPs. Balancing Tear is a mix of studio and live recordings, awash with calmly oceanic passages, interspersed with compressed and feverish form-blurts.

As with Ronda, the heft of the material is dynamically advanced. The album begins with passages worthy of Morricone's western soundtracks, but the action mutates with rapid surety. There's a track that will make you think of a micro-dosed Vic Damone singing balled for the Sephardic Justice Society with chunky, obtuse piano accompaniment recalling the work of Chris Abrahams (Necks). There are stretches of proggy soundtracky expansion with muted trumpet and deep bass roiling that make me think of Mark Cunningham's superb electro-jazz combo, Blood Quartet. There are even shadows of tango that emerge in places like sharks' fins breaching.

Having played together as much as they have over the intervening years, Hamid's presence inside the overall gestalt of the sound is a natural fit. Mako Sica's sound expands without making it seem like there's a new element grafted to it. It's just bigger and better. As all freedom should be."-Byron Coley, Feeding Tube Records

Limited edition of 500 copies.
Related Categories of Interest:

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Improvised Music
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