Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Robbie Robertson 4: Contact From The Underworld Of Redboy

Not that age should have any real bearing on the type of music anyone should attempt, but chances are anyone following Robbie Robertson’s career never thought, “I bet he’d sound amazing with some trip-hop beats behind him.”
Yet with Contact From The Underworld Of Redboy, that’s more or less what he did. Following along from the field experiments of Music For The Native Americans, Robbie continued exploring elements of music by the indigenous peoples of Canada, and collaborated with hip programmers Howie B. and Marius de Vries. The result is jarring, and not exactly cohesive.
While some of the tracks are fine without his vocals (still an acquired taste), when he does put himself at the forefront of the mix, we wish the extra dressing could be stripped away for the songs to breathe. “The Code Of Handsome Lake” and “Unbound” follow closest to the first two solo albums. The centerpiece of the album is arguably “Sacrifice”, which gives voice to convicted activist Leonard Peltier. Somehow the message is diluted by the samples from “One Step Beyond” on “Take Your Partner By The Hand”.
As a Robbie album, it fails. As a world fusion album, we’re not the ones to judge.

Robbie Robertson Contact From The Underworld Of Redboy (1998)—2

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