Saturday, December 28, 2013

“And Now for Something Completely Different” (Apologies to Monte Python)

     If it is possible to describe a collection of music as being both raw and highly processed, then we know how to refer to the music of Slow Machete. Before the Haitian earthquake and its aftershocks did their damage in January 2010, Joseph Shaffer made the journey to Haiti in order to visit a friend. While there, the native of Pittsburg gained an appreciation for the music of the region. Shaffer continued to visit Haiti regularly, helping with the recovery when possible.
     In July 2013, Joseph Shaffer released an EP entitled “Mango Tree,” which is a follow-up to the 2012 LP “Evening Dust Choir.” The music is raw, since it features Haitian choirs, as recorded by Shaffer during his visits. On the other hand, the choirs are heard in samplings that are woven with instruments and other rhythms to achieve the texture Shaffer was targeting, so the music is “processed.” The instruments include a machete that is used percussively. But while the instrument is raw, the machete’s sound was sampled and pitched down (thus the name Slow Machete). After the other sounds were combined, Shaffer added his voice.

     "Dead Waiting" by Slow Machete    

     "Gray Eyed Bird" by Slow Machete  


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