I can’t help it, but I am a slave to the groove. I subsist on a diet of beats and head nodding. As such, I’ve always found it quite a challenge to get into ambient music, even Eno. Maybe I’m finally growing up or I’m becoming hypnotized by the record snowfall here in Vancouver, but the debut album from Chicago’s Male kept me captivated from the first sound. Never does anything like a steady rhythm emerge from the cluster of feedback, digital distortion, field recordings, faded melodies, and mixed bag percussion and never does it seem all that necessary. With a helping hand from various members of Joan Of Arc, Exploding Star Orchestra, and Pan American, All Are Welcome is a welcoming cluster of avant-jazz and improvisational rock on the verge of existence, like a fuzzy memory of a childhood Xmas morning where your parents stayed up all eve long drinking and smoking opium. It can teeter on anxiety for what seems like an eternity, then suddenly the lighting changes and you’re in a whole new world of hope and peace. This is not music for grooving; it’s music you let happen around you, to drift in and out of as the feelings move you to where ever you are meant to be. This is definitely not what I would guess a band called Male would sound like.