Crush (Telepath Music TMD2311, 2011)
Crush is the latest recording by Telepath, the cross-continental musical project created by american musician and producer Michael Christie. Crush is a set of edgy world beat pieces that bring together an exciting mix of dub, Jamaican dancehall, Afrobeat, Indian folk and classical and cutting edge electronica.
What started as a collaboration with an international musician in Nashville (Tennessee) has grown into sessions with various singers and musicians from around the world. Michael Christie contributes keyboards, guitar, bass, flute, drum, and percussion. His guests provide vocals and a variety of acoustic instruments ranging from sitar to horns.
Crush is Christie ‘s third studio album under the Telepath artistic name and the first to feature vocals prominently. “The first album had vocals on one track, and the second record was supposed to as well, but the singer backed out at the last minute,” Christie explains. “I think that was actually what planted the seed in my head for a vocal album — one of those things where something gets taken away, and you immediately decide you want it even more!”
New technologies enabled Telepath to locate vocalists and collaborate with them. Even though he was familiar with some of the vocalists, others he found through the Internet. “I definitely wanted to feature a bunch of different singers, rather than dedicating an album to just one voice. So then it became a matter of spreading the word — sending out all these messages in bottles to anyone I could think of that would know somebody who knew somebody. And in the end, they all came to the project in different ways. Some I had worked with before, some were friends of friends, and some were found via the internet“.
Online collaboration reduced production costs and enriched the scope of the globe-trotting project. Six of the 9 singers and 7 of the 12 instrumentalists recorded their performances on their own, and emailed them to Christie. “It was truly a web that connected me in various ways to all these people whom I never could have worked with otherwise,” says Christie. “This album would have never been possible 20 years ago. It’s pretty amazing to be able to bring about collaborations between people in different countries who will probably never meet face-to-face, but have been part of a larger project together.”
Telepath wil be taking the music in the album live. again, current technology will enable Michael Christie to provide the whole experience to a live audience. “Another situation where ‘without technology, this would not be possible,” he laughs. “I’m able to bring all of these guest performances with me on my laptop, and trigger them live, along with the beats and live keyboards that I’m playing. Most of the material from the new album was played live on the Fall 2010 tour, and the reactions from audiences have been amazing. I think that the vocals give people much more of a lifeline to connect to the songs, and I’ve seen it every night. Even though a song might be brand new to someone, by the third time they hear the chorus, they’re already starting to sing along.”
Crush is a versatile globe-hopping set that introduces one of the most interesting new world music acts of January 2011.
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