From the Sunday Star Times:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/ ... a6621.html
links:Tikiman pumps up the volume
Grant Smithies - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 25 January 2009
RELEASED PRIMARILY on vinyl and mastered so loud they threaten the safety of your stereo speakers, the records made by German producers Rhythm and Sound are audio artefacts of rare power and beauty. Beneath a warm overlay of over-amplified static, a bassline throbs as slow and steady as your own resting heartbeat. Play this music at the correct volume and you feel it in your chest as much as hear it with your ears, giving a feeling of being deeply immersed in sound. Often the wash of static rises and falls like the waves of the sea, adding a secondary undertow of rhythm that plays against the sparse drum track. Every now and then, a voice rises up from the depths of an echo chamber, chanting incantations in a thick West Indian accent.
Rhythm and Sound are Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald. The two men have worked together in Berlin since 1993, releasing their distinctive brand of minimal, hypnotic dub techno under a variety of aliases (Maurizio, Basic Channel, Burial Mix). Theirs is an astonishing example of "culture clash" music: a shotgun wedding between the raw, gritty ghetto soul sound of Jamaican dub reggae and the synthetic loops of German minimal techno.
Fans of this sound will be nigh on delirious to hear that Ernestus is on his way to New Zealand to play three gigs (Von Oswald is recovering from a stroke) and he's bringing with him regular Rhythm and Sound vocalist Paul St Hilaire. Also known as Tikiman, St Hilaire grew up on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean. He's blessed with a sweet, melancholy tone that recalls veteran Jamaican vocalists Horace Andy and Bim Sherman but his delivery is unique: so soft as to be almost a whisper yet roughened up by a parched low register and freighted with a solemn spirituality. It's the perfect voice to add some grit to otherwise clinical digital releases, which is perhaps why St Hilaire has been in such high demand in the last decade, appearing on key recordings by pioneering German electronic producers Modeselektor and Stereotyp and UK dubstep innovator The Bug (who is also touring New Zealand this week) and even finding time for a collaboration with Auckland producer, Andrew "Sola Rosa" Spraggon.
"Yeah, man!" says St Hilaire, the soft-spoken dub adventurer, down a suitably echo-heavy line from his adopted home in Berlin. "I make a nice record with Andrew and he's making a new mix of it for me to release on my label out here in Germany. Very nice tune, that one."
St. Hilaire went to Berlin to visit a friend 15 years ago and found so much work as a singer and guitarist that he moved there.
"Me nah like the winters, really, but I been here a long time now and I getting used to it. And I love what Rhythm and Sound was doing, so I join with dem, you know? With their music, the vibe was just right, man! I hear it and it speak to me. We do our first tune around 1995, and t'ings get more roots sounding since that time. Mark and Moritz heard some dub plates I made for sound systems and we start to work together after that. At first, making this more experimental music was hard, you know. I was used to singing with a band, so this more techno-dub direction I had to slow down and not sing so forceful, more like talking almost."
Other than his evocative voice, St Hilaire's willingness to experiment is perhaps his greatest asset.
"Well, I like the music we make with Rhythm and Sound because it move forward, you know? A lot of reggae singers try to capture the sound of 70s roots reggae, which is fine, but I really love the feeling of taking that sound somewhere it has never ventured before. Music needs to refresh itself. It shouldn't stay stuck in one place or time. But as a vocalist, the main thing is to make the listener feel the spirit, you know? People get so obsessed with material t'ings, and music can lift you out of that. We dance to it, we move our feet, because movement is the basis of life but the main thing is for it to invoke the spirit and touch you somewhere deep in your soul. Music that doesn't do that is music you don't need, man."
* Rhythm and Sound/Tikiman tour dates: January 29, Double Happy, Christchurch; January 30, San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington; January 31, Bacco Room, Auckland.
Rhythm & Sound catalog
listen to some vocals:
Rhythm & Sound w/ Tikiman - jah rule
Rhythm & Sound w/ Paul St. Hilaire - Never Tell You
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mf2IJT7 ... re=related
Rhythm & Sound w/ Tikiman - What A Mistry
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68RrcW3y ... re=related
listen to some versions: