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Gabriel Kahane - The Ambassador / Mother Jones review

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Gabriel Kahane grew up in a world of classical music. His father, Jeffrey Kahane, is a concert pianist and director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. With his new album, The Ambassador, this week, Kahane takes a big leap in his transition from classical polymath to pop songwriter and rock musician.

He hasn't given up any of the complexity of his music; several songs are intricate contraptions of poly-rhythm, odd time signatures, harmonic shifts, and deft melodies that weave through it all. Conceptually, The Ambassador examines Los Angeles through its architecture. (Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthore wrote the liner notes.) The album delves into themes of darkness, light, culture, and history, using a street address as a starting point for each song.