FAT FREDDY’S DROP / “Fat Freddy Big BW Mixtape”
This is trance music.
Don’t look for themes or a narrative. No stories, not even romantic love songs. There is nothing radio friendly here. The shortest song is over six minutes long and compared to some of the others, it’s really short.
Fat Freddy’s Drop is a seven member collective:
Joe Dukie (Dallas Tamaira, vocals)
Tony Chang (Toby Laing, trumpet)
Chopper Reedz (Scott Towers, sax)
Jetlag Johnson (Tehimana Kerr, guitar)
Dobie Blaze (Iain Gordon, keyboards)
DJ Fitchie (Chris Faiumu, MPC)
Hopepa (Joe Lindsay, trombone)
DJ Mu (aka DJ Fitchie) on MPC is the musical director. Notice, no regular drummer and no bass player (regular or otherwise). Mu holds down the bottom with his electronics. Imagine the daring of this line-up (or the foolishness, depending on your point of reference).
A roots band that don’t have no bass and no regular drummer—and yet, when they lock in on a groove it’s torqued all the way down.
Fat Freddy’s previous album, Based On A True Story, is the all-time best selling, independently produced New Zealand (NZ) album. It went 9x platinum on the NZ charts. And that was without any promotion from a major label. These guys own their own music all the way and as such are setting an example that you don’t have to sign to a major to make it big.
This new album is counter-intuitive. First there is the question of the title for the album: Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW. How’s that for a mouthful of “Huh? Dr. who and the what?” That’s just not marketing friendly, which I guess translates into Fat Freddy is not focusing on marketing.
Second, there are no radio-oriented singles on the recording, which doesn’t seem to matter all that much as within two weeks the album went platinum down under. Essentially, Fat Freddy is an island band with fans worldwide. Fitchie believes they are better song writers now.
"We're better songwriters, we're moving away from the big long jams that are probably more of a live thing. There was no external pressure. There was pressure to try and come up with something that's a natural progression.”I don’t quite see it that way. I think Fitchie is a better (and also an innovative) orchestrator/arranger. It’s not the songs per se but the way they do the songs.
—DJ Fitchie (aka DJ Mu)
In terms of songs, they do have one of the best soul vocalists in the world. Dallas sounds like the most effortless singer you ever want to hear. My man just be breathing and talk-singing and it comes out so smooth, so very, very smooth. I know it’s one of the regular trademarks of true cool to make what you do seem easy, but this cat is almost too cool to be believed. I suppose that’s a major part of the Fat Freddy magic: they never sound like they’re trying to force something on you.
Given that they always were sort of a minimalist band, it is very, very interesting that Fitchie has taken the Fat Freddy sound and stripped it down even further. The electronic touches are fuller but the rest of the sound has boiled down to the barest essentials—they’ve got a three-horn front line but over half the time, none of the horns are playing.
All of that harkens back to what I said at the top: this is a trance band. They catch a groove, lock it in, and just let that bad boy run.
Fat Freddy is legendary for their live performances. This mixtape will give you some idea of why.
If you want background info, go to this Fat Freddy write up we previously posted.
My suggestion, however, is simple and straight forward: put the music on and go do something else (clean your room, study for summer school, whatever). When the music stops, put it on again. This time turn it up a little louder and just chill. When the music stops. Play it a third time. Consider it your meditation hour. When the music stops… well, you know the drill.
—Kalamu ya Salaam
Fat Freddy Big BW Mixtape Playlist
01 “Pull The Catch” - Live @ The Roundhouse - part 2 of Radio New Zealand Broadcast
02 “Shiverman” - Live @ The Roundhouse - part 2 of Radio New Zealand Broadcast
Here is a 28-minute segment of a live broadcast from a December 2008 London gig. Both the songs are from The Big BW album but in their live incarnation they are significantly different from the album. Twenty-eight minutes, two songs!
03 “Big BW” - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW
04 “The Raft” - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW
05 “The Nod (Live)” – Radio broadcast
Here’s a live version of “The Nod” and after the next track, you get the album version of “The Nod.” This is a strong example of Fat Freddy’s M.O. (modus operandi), the way they flow.
06 “The Camel” - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW
07 “The Nod” - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW
08 “Breakthrough” - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW
“The Camel” has a cameo spot from English vocalist Alice Russell. The big news for me was the New Orleans-style horn solos and breaks at the end of “The Nod.” This is the first time I’ve heard secondline music used as a reference rather than folk trying to imitate the music. It’s mad, crazy creative. And the last track “Breakthrough” channels Sun Ra.
All of this music from track to track might sound like simple grooves but there is some deep understanding guiding Fitchie’s orchestration. Unfortunately, only the tracks from The Big BW are available commercially.
This entry was posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 4:51 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Responses to “FAT FREDDY’S DROP / “Fat Freddy Big BW Mixtape””
Leave a Reply
| top |