As the cycles of life, weather patterns, and geopolitical shifts whirl about them, Dirtwire, the Bay-Area based electro acoustic duo of David Satori (Beats Antique) and Evan Fraser (Hamsa Lila, Stellamara), contain that energy in their latest release, RipTide, out May 12, 2015 on Beats Antique Records. With tracks highlighting the duo’s unique blend of dirt and wire, the album expertly combines acoustic, electric and electronic elements, which are carefully chosen and mixed together into their musical alchemy with pride. The album follows recent appearances at Coachella and Lucidity festivals, and is followed by a Summer tour along the West Coast, as well as an appearance at Sonic Bloom in Colorado.
Experimenting with modern recording techniques at Oakland, CA’s Beat’s Antique Studio, Dirtwire’s Fraser and Santori pushed to create a new sound showcasing an eclectic variety of instruments from around the world. RipTide sees them working with new equipment like Abelton’s Push controller and incorporating new South American rhythms to the project. The album is also the first time that Fraser sings all of the vocal tracks on a full release, with no guest vocalists at all.
With busy touring and recording schedules on both ends, the two seem to find a way to collaborate in unique and effective methods. “There is a multitude of ways in which we collaborate,” says Satori. “Sometimes we come up with a beat and put chords and melody over it. Other times we sample ourselves, cut it up, start stacking instruments on top. Sometimes we write songs together in the car with a guitar and sometimes it’s collaborating through Dropbox.” Both talented multi-instrumentalists, Fraser and Santori weave together their own individual loops and sketches to create tracks that are further developed in the studio.
The collaborative result is an album that transcends genres, keeping pace with today’s ever-changing society. Like a riptide that is nearly impossible to fight, the 21st century has been a wild ride of constantly changing weather patterns, relationships and never ending status updates. The album is about navigating this current to keep up with a life in constant transition.
Each track on the album tells a different story. Three highlights include “Riptide,” “Big Change,” and “Rollin.” The title track, “RipTide,” is a mashup of styles influenced by African blues and electro folk. Featuring the violin and vocals through a toy megaphone, “RipTide” takes you on a journey from a melancholy cry to a triumphant victory. “Big Change” is a powerful song written by Fraser about our changing climate and the need for more balanced sustainable economic systems. With poignant lyrics and haunting instrumentation, “Big Change” is a stand out track sure to leave an impact on listeners. “Rollin” is a track that evokes images of a traveler wandering down old, rusty train tracks in the back woods of Americans’ lost memories. This song has influences ranging from the deserts of Mali in North Africa to the back porches of the Deep Southern America.
Other notable tracks include “Tepotzteco,” a futuristic cumbia produced with an ngoni and electronics, “Did You,” a future RnB downtempo tune, and “Last Pulsar,” which is a haunting melodica gypsy dub track with thumb piano and moombathon grooves drawing influence from King Tubby and Augustus Pablo.
Thriving in a live audience setting, Dirtwire’s worldly influences do not stop in the studio. Featuring Fraser and Santori on instruments from around the world, the duo’s live show incorporates more improvisation than their album, bringing a laid-back natural feel. With performances that seamlessly merge the grit of the music with the movement of the audience, Dirtwire asks only one thing of its fan base: “Get down in the dirt with us!”
- Did You
- Polar Vortex
- The Last Pulsar
- Big Change