NATION II NATION – TRIBAL SPIRIT MUSIC
Claiming a genre called “pow wow-step” is enough for even those not from the Aboriginal community to be intrigued by A Tribe Called Red. Not to be confused with a certain influential ‘90s rap group, the Ottawa-area trio’s newest release, Nation II Nation, is an example of how such a certain sound can appeal to anyone on a musical level.
A group of producers who, in their words, “remix traditional pow wow music with contemporary club sounds,” Nation II Nation picks up where their Polaris long-listed, self-titled debut left off. The sophomore offering blurs the lines between Native culture and EDM by taking genres, such as moombahton (album opener “Bread & Cheese”) and dubstep (“NDN Stakes”), and combining them with tribal drum rhythms and exuberant, high-pitched chanting.
Perhaps the biggest element of their sound is that they know their way around a catchy tune, too – the house-influenced “Sisters” features looped Native chants over a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat. In short, Nation II Nation is a sign of A Tribe Called Red taking the sound that got them attention in the first place and expanding on it rather than radically changing up their game plan.
(This article originally appeared in BeatRoute Magazine.)