John Paul Jones
Writer Alex Bemis describes Takka Takka's New Album, Migration:
I listened to this album once out of obligation because Takka Takka are my friends, but found myself re-listening to it many times because it was pleasurable to do so.
The band didn't provide me with any names for the songs, and it's a record that works really well that way. It plays less like a series of songs than one big idea with one pulsing rhythm. There are no singles; rather it strikes me as one long thought cut into twelve individual sections. Maybe music is better that way? Maybe any music that aspires to the condition of namelessness -- that works at one idea so relentlessly -- is the only music that truly deserves the name.
The album is called Migration and I've come up with a notion about where that migration might be taking us. To me, this band are part of the wave of emerging young musicians who have been pulling in ideas from world music, but without adopting the colonizer perspective which previous generations of Western artists brought to such borrowings.
Now, don't get me wrong here. Among that older generation of musicians/colonizers are some of my favorite artists: David Byrne, Paul Simon, Joe Strummer. But it's hard to argue that these artist weren't engaged in a kind of creative theft (or at least creative misappropriation) when they jammed out with collaborators from South America, South Africa, the Caribbean, et al.
This new wave of musicians, Takka Takka included, have brought to the table an egalitarian respect for their sources, be it obscure underground rock bands like The Feelies, composer Philip Glass, or the tradition of Balinese Gamelan. It doesn't sound like Caucasians from the West raiding the world for influence; it sounds like Caucasians from the West realizing we don't own this planet but are along for the ride just like everybody else.
Singer / Guitarist Gabe Levine speaks about the personal importance of Migration:
Sometimes this record is about existing in a place you don't belong. Conversely, it is about where you came from and how you got there.
Sometimes this record is about my Balinese mother. She recently decided to become a Pamangku, a Balinese holy person. This has brought us to do a fair amount of talking lately, more than we have ever had the chance to do before. Some of those conversations made their way into these songs—myth, prayer, offerings, gamelan music (oh such sweet music), poverty, volcanic eruptions, Communist purges, cultural misunderstanding, racism, family and abandonment.
Sometimes this record is about a band experimenting with sound and form, trying to honestly say things in song it has never said before.
Sometimes this record is about not going back and staying in the place you don't belong.
Migration was lovingly produced by Sean Greenhalgh of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It was recorded in Brooklyn and features performances by Bryan Devendorf of The National, Lee Sargent of CYHSY, Olga Bell of Bell, and Charles Burst.