Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ratazanas on Music with Soul Records

I always thought Serge Gainsbourg was a weird novelty act, not to too be taken seriously, like a French Leonard Cohen or ‘70s lounge Edith Piaf until I read that 33 1/3 book about The Histoire de Melody Nelson. It was a really contemporary sounding album of funky break beats and Serge’s close mic’d sexy vocal, sounding awesome and mysterious in french of course. The book went further examining this conceptual lolita story and he went as far as to steal a cassette of Jane Birkin, pictured on that sleeve, laughing to use in the mix. Classical arrangements and heavy funk beats must have been mind-blowing when it was released in the early seventies. The Portugese band, The Ratazanas have been playing and recording reggae tracks since 2007 coming up with their own similar unique take on the genre.

A-Side's "The Enlightenment" has Eduardo in a heavy accent coming in with a slow deliberate spoken word sound over a solo Farfisa tempo. A reggae influenced funk slightly off tempo, with the all important cowbell sound, hollow and so thin it's practically rusted through. The backup singers are faced with coming up with this melody while the lead casually walks down the street narrating this movie. Stabs at the organ in a creaky see saw motion, Luís backhands the keys running up octaves combining the funk with English lyrics about the enlightenment. I think he actually mentioned Voltaire? Intolerance, world peace….this guy us really going for it. Why not make music to address everything bad in the world, we can all feel good or hopeful about things for the length of a seven inch at least.

B-Side's "Bone Spitter" probably doesn’t have such a positive message I would guess, but it’s an instrumental with loose snare fills bouncing off the room vibrating around. Electric staccato rhythm while the organ swings all over the piece, creating a solid straight formation of a track, controlling the background so the keys can go mental all over the place with a hint of vocal buried under a mess of plate reverb.

Sold out from Music with Soul but can be had over at Moskito Mailorder - import only

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