Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Pitchforkmedia: New Music: Antibalas: "Beaten Metal" [MP3]
If Antibalas needed a justification for dropping the Afrobeat Orchestra handle for their fourth album, Security, they needed to look no further than opening track "Beaten Metal". With the emphatic swagger of the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2" and the dexterously sharp grooves of Tortoise's "The Taut and Tame" (turtle John McEntire produced Security), this instrumental wonder is a new chapter for a band that's been testing the waters of tribute and artistry too long. Still, they cherish their Afrobeat ancestry, using a few repeated, interlocking parts to build a blazing anthem: Most of the instruments here are binary, either playing their parts or staying out of the way. The beaten metal pings of the title are in the mix or gone, and the horns that blow the top off a minute in are much the same when they reapply the seal four minutes later. They slide up and down scales, but they're spitting antiphonal fire at consistent intervals. No, this isn't Cage's "First Construction in Metal", but it's not "Expensive Shit", either. A bold move, executed perfectly.