The Yang to the Yin of Whetzel’s album Sum, “Capitol Hill: Secret Tracks” is a high energy mix of South Asian, African and American music. Tabla and Darbouka beats are combined with innovative throat singing and Whetzel’s diverse palette of instruments which ranges from Sarode to guitar, Riqq, to drum kit.
Indian Virtuoso tabla player Vishal Nagar appears on several tracks adding intense tabla skills to the mix. Tucker Martine provides special audio effects on several tracks and drum kit players Adam Lofstedt and Leftheri Mahlis bring some tasty beats. Canadian guitar ace Gavin Douglas also appears on one track.
Review by Emch, WNYE.
"I don’t know why these tracks were kept in the vault so long! This album has a whole host of things to recommend it. Here are the top three: 1) It’s unique in all the best ways and there’s nothing else that occupies the empty space in your music collection that this album will fill– unless you already have an album that combines Tuvan throat singing with elements of Indian and North African music in a way that isn’t contrived, completely makes sense, and pays due respect to those traditions 2) It’s consistent from beginning to end in terms of both style and quality– which means you know that everytime you put it on you’re guaranteed a steady hour of listening pleasure 3) The musicianship is fantastic without being showy– It all serves it’s place in the context of the music and it’s only when you listen closely that you realize the skill required to execute parts that seem to be played so effortlessly. What else do you need to know? Buy this album right now. Enjoy the music. If you’re in Seattle, look in the paper for listings and go see him make music like this live! It will undoubtedly be a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Take my word for it. Five stars all the way."
Review by Sean Carkonen, Screaming Mimi's
"No mere multi-instrumental dabbling, rather, eclecticism with a focus. Whetzel's aesthetic blends disparate musical styles into unique sonic landscapes."
Capitol Hill: Secret Tracks was #8 on San Francisco's KUSF Radio's Top Ten World albums for August 25 - 29, 2003.