Thursday, April 05, 2007

What the Belizean press had to say about the recent Norman Cook/Andy Palacio recording

The Channel 7 report: Fatboy Slim & Andy Palacio: Garifuna Meets British Dance

One of them is a British producer who draws thousands to all night raves; the other is a Barranco boy who recorded his latest album in a thatch house on Hopkins Beach. Put them together and what do you get? A little bit of international dance musical sensation Fatboy Slim, and a little Bit of Garifuna superstar Andy Palacio. The two recorded last week in San Pedro and courtesy of Stonetree Records we have the videos from the four day session. Here's what it looked and sounded like.

Jules Vasquez Reporting,The Stonetree Crew flew out so San Pedro to Mata Grande Studios, four miles north of San Pedro Town to meet Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. His idea is to marry dance music popular in Europe with Garifuna instruments, styles and singers. Add a little of the Grandmaster to that and you've got….something.

Fatboy Slim,"See what happens when English music met Belizean."

And from his end, Fatboy Slim brings a lot. As a vastly popular British DJ and much sought after remixer, he's played to tends of thousands, sold hundreds of thousands of records, and won an MTV Best Video Music Award for this song weapon of choice. But now, he's in Belize looking for new inspirations and experimenting. On what? He doesn't know.

Fatboy Slim,"You can't really explain experiments or experimental."

And that experimental urge led him to the Garifuna Collective. He wanted to see how their sounds would work on his records.

Fatboy Slim,"We arrived here with no real songs, no real ideas. I came here with a CD with beats and bass sounds from England and about half an idea of what to do and over the last four days we've hang out with the local musicians, listen to what they do, try to match the two and see what happens."

But how does Garifuna music with its African rhythms that go back centuries intersect with electronic music pioneered over the last two decades? Well, right here. In fact, this could be the textbook study. Joshua Arana playing the Primera Drum showed Fatboy how he could slow the pace, and seamlessly ride his electronic rhythm track.

After getting the percussion pattern from Cook, Giovanni Chi did pretty much the same for the turtle shell and it hit the spot for Fatboy Slim. And while Lugua Centeno was circumspect, Grandmaster felt it, right off.

You could call it roots funk - and to make it even funkier, how about putting a wah pedal on a drum? To our knowledge its never been done but between Stone Tree's Al Obando and Fatboy, they weren't afraid to try. For those who don't know the wah pedal is made for a guitar, and alters its tone. Here's how it sounded in the Fatboy track.

A murky mystery of a tone - but that's where the spirit of experimentation took them. And its that kind of experimentation that made the tracks starts to come together to the satisfaction of artists from both traditions.

But while he may aspire to play the drums, Andy isn't ready to go into electronic dance music at least not just yet. He did write a song, worked it out with Fatboy, and delivered. Backup singers Cella Torres and Deseree Arana also got in on tracks. And if that sounds plain, this is how it sounded in the mix.

After a few days of that, Arana too was made into a believer. And by the time, Fatboy Slim had finished four days of recording, he, the Garifuna Collective and the engineers had put together three tracks - which he says is just a start.

Fatboy Slim says that definitely two of the tracks will make his next album. He may also do a remix of one of the tracks from Watina. After that session, Andy Palacio headed to Europe, where he will make a live television appearance in France in support of his new album Watina.