Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Boats: Dan Deacon, No Age and tons more collaborate with Indian children and get amazing results

February 7, 2014

boats

The goal of the Everything is New project is to empower the children of the Light of Love Children’s Home (supporting Dalit ‘untouchable’ children in south-east India), many of whom have been rescued from bonded labor, child prostitution, homelessness, and abject poverty. The project creates the opportunity for the children to ‘star’ in the cultural forms they themselves consider most meaningful – popular music and cinema.

The compilation Transgressive North has put out here, Boats, is heavy with very catchy and inspired sparkle-dance and super-thromp knee-bucklers. Each track features a sample of the children’s choir singing, rejoicing, chanting, shouting, making a noise. The various artists on the compilation sure did a lot with the set of raw materials they had at hand. Every band has an interesting offering here (which rarely happens with comps, especially ones with nearly thirty tracks on them).

Whereas the big names such as Deerhoof, Dan Deacon, Max Tundra, No Age, Gang Gang Dance, YACHT, and Jarvis Cocker should help sales of the compilation, what these and other artists–most of whom have stand-out tracks here– submitted to this comp is pretty astounding…not  just a two-minute bleep-bop that ends in a shudder. They are notably truly inspired by a noble cause.

This reviewer’s outstanding pick is Ramona Falls’ “On The Line.” It had me dancing around the kitchen, then at work, then with my headphones on in a laundromat near Phoenix; it was stuck in my head for like four days. The use of the children’s choir’s Ahhhs and simple harmonized melody line is very magical on this track.

Another striking track is Rustie’s “Boatsss.” It has a video worth seeing. It’s a serious dance-down. The Max Tundra track, “You, The Living” explores the voice sample in a very arresting way, laying it down as the basis of a real mover. The Deerhoof track, “Play The Hand,” is striking for a different reason. The composition sticks very closely to the original sound sample, only offering small ambient bunny-hops out of something that already sounded beautiful.

The project has a trailer video VERY worth seeing, too.  I noted a couple of the artists / contributors getting choked up. Inspiring.  Noble.  This is worth the money ($18 for 30 tracks). You can purchase it digitally with a booklet on bandcamp, or you can get the CD… or just donate to the project. —Gary Lee Barrett

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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