Antibalas Security

Antibalas Security
With their fourth full-length release, Brooklyn-based collective Antibalas have reached a new plateau. Co-produced with Tortoise auteur John McEntire, who also mixed, it’s more of the Fela-inspired Afrobeat that the band have perfected over the last near decade, with new sonic dimensions and stylistic experimentation. Opening with the fantastic Stuart Bogie penned "Beaten Metal,” with fist-pumping percussion and a bass that bobs and weaves with stinging cross hooks of horns, electric piano and actual pieces of metal that not only showcase the unit’s superior musicianship but hint at things to come. Metal is not the only thing added to the mix, there are also flourishes of electronics, reggae, soul and hip-hop unlike anything Antibalas have recorded before. The reggae/Afrobeat hybrid of "Sanctuary” is powered by a dub-like echo and the soul-curdling vocals of Duke Almayo. The dark yet sumptuous "Hilo” is a gorgeous piece of late night soul. For those familiar with Antibalas’s legendary live show and past releases the stylistic departures might come as a shock. But what is most commendable is how the band have stayed true to their roots. The lyrics remain socially conscious and relevant, and this outfit are still as funky as ever. Security is a potent slice of uncompromising, progressive Afrobeat and their finest effort yet.

How did you hook up with co-producer John McEntire?
Tenor saxophonist Stuart Bogie: Well, I’m originally from Chicago and so is John. We were fans of his work, as well as friends with some of the members of Tortoise. We met him through a series of fortunate events and liked his sounds. His music is very modern and compelling, very concerned with layers and textures, in many ways similar to our music.

Tell me a little about the recording of this album.
More songs than you think were done live. We spent four weeks in Chicago: three recording, one mixing. For "Beaten Metal” we visited this old mill yard - all you could see was rust - to find scrap metal to use. We employed a lot of new skills, in regards to putting tracks together, as well as appreciating the greater architecture of a record. It’s the most sculpted album we’ve done.

What's the significance of the title Security?
When we were making the record in September 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck. We were building a history of the word security involving artificial fear as induced by certain media outlets and leaders to get citizens to submit to certain biased international policies, all the while faced with the genuine threat of devastation in Louisiana and Alabama. (Anti)