Eccodek’s African Dub Mixology

Africa in Us
(White Swan Records) is the new album by Canadian act Eccodek. “I think putting more Africa into something suggests connecting with the root of
the matter, finding the deeper mystical history of things, the soul connection
proclaims Andrew McPherson, the man behind Eccodek’s blend of downtempo grooves,
tribal electronica, and world dub.

After a painful breakup, McPherson, who had already established himself as a
singer-songwriter, set out to make an album of joy and celebration, purposely
diving head first into wires, delays, and microprocessors in search of
cinematic, organic, and slightly unhinged dub mixology. “I wanted to be the ‘man
behind the curtain’ on this project
,” explains McPherson. “I wanted to basically
create and control the thing but wanted to be as invisible in the process as I
could and just let the beautiful rhythms and stirring vocals seduce the listener
and take them wherever they decided
.”Along the way, African voices fell into his lap. The first was Rwandan Ignace
Ntirushwamaboko, a refugee who narrowly escaped gunmen in his village over a
decade ago during his country’s genocide. After getting assistance from the
Berklee School of Music, Ignace eventually landed in Guelph, the same town as
McPherson, 60 miles west of Toronto, and called on McPherson’s production skills
for an album. When the album went unfinished for personal reasons, Ignace
offered up tracks from the masters which acted as vocal seeds for four songs on
More Africa in Us.

Several months later, McPherson sat in with the horn section of a local groove
band. When they announced a special guest singer from far away, Mali’s Samba
Diallo took the stage and “proceeded to tear the roof off the place.” McPherson
quickly wrote three “guerilla compositions” over the next week and invited Samba
into the studio. With only ninety minutes together, they recorded the vocals for
three more tracks on the album.

Surrounded by African voices, McPherson was brought back to a Wired magazine
interview of Brian Eno from several years earlier. Eno said, “Do you know what I
hate about computers? The problem with computers is that there is not enough
Africa in them.” The title for the album emerged, and the metaphor for
music-making-as-healing came into focus. “The rule was if you ain’t feeling it,
move on
,” recalls McPherson. “So it got made very quickly without too much
analysis or abstraction

“Having just completed a very draining, cathartic solo record documenting
turmoil in my lif
e,” McPherson continues, “I was jonesing for something to bring
me back into my body and away from my head. But also something to remind me of
the joy, passion, and power in life… Qualities I’ve always felt in the midst of
African cultures

After the completion of

More Africa in Us
, McPherson had a chance to hear Eno lecture
nearby. He brought the completed album and went up to Eno to give him a copy.
McPherson pointed out that the title was adapted from a comment he’d made in his
Wired magazine interview. Eno looked at McPherson seriously and said, “I won’t
charge you
.” Pause. “Unless it’s good.”


More Africa in Us

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central