Benjamin Cartel is no stranger to making music that quickly connects with its listeners. That’s something he’s always excelled at, first with the substantial attention and acclaim accorded his duo Kaiser Cartel, and then, with a return to his solo career. To date, the latter has yielded two highly acclaimed efforts, an EP called Money and Love and a full length outing entitled Gothenberg, each of which helped broaden his reputation while underscoring his obvious ambitions.
With Cartel’s upcoming release, Flickering Light, he moves the needle even further, opening up a sonic palette that not only reflects his expansive musical vision, but also reflects his attention to craft and detail through astute, articulate arrangements and a sound that’s both stirring and sublime. Co-produced by longtime colleague Mike Cohen and recorded at Trout Studios in Brooklyn (home to recordings by Evan Dando and Joan as Police Woman) and Flower Studios in Minneapolis (which birthed records by The Replacements and The Jayhawks), the new album found Cartel intimately involved in every detail of the process. With Cartel playing guitar and drums, Cohen contributing guitar and Kieren Mulvaney anchoring the proceedings on bass, the results verify that fact that Flickering Light is easily Cartel’s greatest achievement yet.
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