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Subtle Movements


Format: 2xLP


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Audiopile Review: The trio who were largely behind André 3000’s New Blue Sun, Surya Botofasina, Nate Mercereau and Carlos Niño, continue that highly successful partnership with a vast new double album for Leaving Records. Clearly tuned into the same astral vibration, the trio restlessly smudge the lines between jazz, fusion, ambient and fourth world, the improvised tracks guided by a mutual urge to push into new terrain together. While much of New Blue Sun was a relatively subdued affair—low-lit bubbling synths, shimmering percussion and André’s slowly exhaled flute were the central features—the mood of Subtle Movements shifts throughout, particularly on the side-long pieces that allow the space for this trio to properly extend themselves. The 18-minute album opener, “Inter-connectednesses”, spends its first half in a placid zone of new age tones and crystalline ambience, eventually Botofasina takes the steering wheel and pulls them skywards with an ecstatic synth solo, arriving at a station not too far from Greg Foat’s cosmonaut workouts with Warren Hampshire. Elsewhere, they conjure Pharoah Sanders’ spirit of unity on “So Much Love” and wind through bucolic-kraut zones on “Exploration (Sincerely)”. The album goes down rather smooth but has plenty of secreted pockets to get lost in. For anyone already invested in the extended world of Niño, Subtle Movements will a nice addition to the growing collection. And for those who have just been initiated by New Blue Sun, then this is your next best move.


This Trio is very Californian, even though Surya is based on the East Coast . . .We swim together in the Pacific Ocean, Vibing, bonding, talking, listening, riding the Waves . . .as often as we can.
– Carlos Niño

Together these three adventurously creative Musical Artists have played in Portland, Oregon, Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, London, England, Amsterdam and Zaandam, NL, Köln, Germany, San Diego and Ojai, California, and many times throughout Los Angeles County, since February 2022. They first came together in July 2021 at the Glendale, California Home Recording Studio of Jesse Peterson and Mia Doi Todd.

Nate was invited by Carlos to meet Surya and to possibly play. No specific plans were set other than to explore with Surya. (Multi-Reedsman Randal Fisher was also there.) That Session turned out to be Day 1 of what became Surya’s debut album Everyone’s Children released by Spiritmuse Records on November 4, 2022. Suyra and Nate were both featured extensively on the Carlos Niño & Friends album (I’m just) Chillin’, on Fire released by International Anthem on September 15, 2023, though not together on any of the same pieces.

The first in-depth representation of the Trio was in collaboration with André 3000 on his album New Blue Sun released by Epic Records on November 17, 2023, where they are featured as co-writers and co-creators of 5 of the 8 album pieces. Niño also Produced that album in collaboration with André. Nate enthusiastically took it upon himself to be the Trio’s Archivist and would get to Mixing and playlisting the group’s recordings as soon as he received them from Live and Studio recordists. He took the lead on Producing and Mixing this album, Subtle Movements.

His unique perspectives, thoughts, feelings and intense heart energy went into telling the story of how these pieces, recorded in different settings, with a wide range of gear, by an array of characters, all flow together. “It is a blessed opportunity and Cosmic Gift to be at the keyboards with Nate and Carlos,” Surya gleams. “In appearance, I play a few keyboards at a time: a MIDI controller that I use in tandem with music studio software, my absolute FAVORITE analog sensibility synth Roland SH-201 (although it is digital), and typically another 88key board (the Roland SV-1).

If there is a piano available, I will also use that with us for a total of 4 keyboards at my station, (that my cousin Georgia Anne Muldrow has forever deemed “Praise Console no.3”), Surya enthuses. “My instruments and sound are the last thing I consider about this Trio. For me, it is about us as human beings first; as members of our respective families and soul tribes before anything else. I think whatever sound that comes forth is a result of that inner connected soul conversation. That, at least in my view, is the Sound.”

“I play guitar, guitar synthesizer, and midi-guitar sampler,” writes Nate Mercereau of his Instruments on Subtle Movements. “In addition to my main GR300 guitar synthesizer sound, I am sampling the band live as we perform and using the sound . . .It takes many different shapes, but I am often playing something like the sound of Carlos’s percussion from 30 seconds earlier in a new key and tempo, or as a chord — or a quick slice of a pad from Surya’s keyboard pitched down into sub frequencies, anything can happen,” Nate details.

“I live-sample and expand, magnify, permutate, repeat, live-remix, live-edit, and reframe moments of our sound within our sound while it’s happening. Worlds Within Worlds and Worlds Upon Worlds, Currents Within Currents. I also use previously recorded and created samples from my library in this context, allowing my guitar to be anything.” Nate also offers: “I consider what I do in this trio to be a part of and extension of the greater sound of this group, which is often oceanic (which represents everything to me), waves, it’s full communication. Love and support in sonic form. Going beyond together in all ways.”

Carlos Niño plays everything that you hear in the Aerophone, Drum, Percussion and Plant realms . . .
He was the group’s “Connector” and its first advocate. Depending on who received and accepted the opportunity to present the Trio their names have appeared in different orders. Hear, on Subtle Movements the order is Alphabetical by last name:
Botofasina, Mercereau, Niño

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