White Flight writes of Ratatat
I wonder if anyone else has secretly taken a RATATAT song and recorded their own vocal track over it. I did. In 2004 I had just returned from a literal mind-blowing journey in Peru and I was oddly placed in the basement of my ex-neighbors house in the suburbs of Nowhere, Kansas. I laced that track. I laced it real nice with a shure 57 microphone. But I never sent the song to RATATAT. Iâ€™ve only listened to the song a handful of times and I played it for two of my brothers. Itâ€™s one of those songs for the vault. Itâ€™s my little secret. So those gentlemen from RATATAT just sent me LP3. And they asked me to write their thingy-thang. Already Iâ€™ve found another sizzling track on this new one that I am POSITIVELY going to lace with voices, and WITHOUT their permission. Which makes me wonder why Iâ€™m busy typing away here when I could be lacing that track. But this is a favor for RATATAT. I suppose Iâ€™m returning the favor that they did for me in the Summer of Sunshine, 2007. I was fresh off of Panther Mountain, wearing hot pink soccer shorts and LOTS of coconut oil, and those guys from RATATAT came over to the studio I was at in Catskill, NY. It was actually just a big old house full of organs and amplifiers and all the other crazy sound makers you could possibly want to make a happening happen.
Called â€œOld Soulâ€, the mansion was haunted. A really ancient president of the United States had lived and died in there. That dude Uncle Sam, like the real guy from the posters, he grew up next door. Itâ€™s the sort of place you definitely want to make some smoke, burn some sage and stay up all night. Every night if possible. So the two boys from RATATAT, Evan (beat maker) and Mike (melody keeper) shows up and I make a big salad with cashews on top and they decline my offer for coconuts. In this time Iâ€™m eating like a little bird. I was feeding them their meals for the whole weekend, but not serving enough food. Those guys are so polite that they would just sneak away from the studio and find a quick bite around town instead of simply asking me for more to eat. I showed them the ethereal pyramid I had set up around the studio using quartz crystal capstones. They didnâ€™t roll their eyes and they actually looked curious during my ramblings about the pyramids. I told them what I know. So we got right to work. They laced some of my tracks, supplied me with beats, and helped arrange some things for my new album WHITE ARK. It was thrilling to watch the two of them at work in the studio. What stood out the most to me was their silent intelligence, their telepathic capacities. I observed again and again how Evan and Mike would download the contents of my mind perfectly, and then communicate in between themselves with minimal cues like eye gestures or crotch clenches, and soon enough they were filling the room with swirling guitar and organ parts, giving my song skeletons a brand new nervous system and all their soft tissues. We would have long improv sessions in the night, pulsing emerald lights from the corners of the crystal pyramid. The energy flowed perfectly and the boys were digging Old Soul so much they decided to record what would become LP3 there. They booked 40 days and 40 nights, and while they werenâ€™t quite fasting in the desert, due to their auspicious encounter with the Egyptian rug dealer Mumtaz Khan (see track 11 of LP3) in downtown Catskill, they laced the joint with even more crystal pyramids. ************** RATATAT and I had been talking about collaboration for many years. I first met Mike in the summer of 2001. He was a 20-year-old hired-gun guitar phenom, his first time out on the road. We recognized each other as confidants and co-conspirators immediately. In this time Mike played me the first ever RATATAT home recordings, only then they were calling themselves â€œCherryâ€. It was some old-skool 4-track fuzzy- guitar-shit. The sound quality was low but the spirit was spilling out the glass. I couldnâ€™t believe the nerve of these guys, making my little brain grasp for familiar territory, all I could think was how they had somehow mixed Beethoven with Wu-tang with Megadeth. Damn. I was actually a little jealous. Why didnâ€™t I think of that?? So now that weâ€™ve grown up a bit and now that weâ€™re collaborating out in the open, all the jealousy has melted. I mean, those guys are just so innocent and cute in the first place, and I totally have forgiven them for remixing those Missy Elliot tracks. Iâ€™ve listened to LP3 about 7 times now. This record is the first one RATATAT has made that is truly for the Whole Planet. Theyâ€™re Graduating Galactic. I can already smell the toasted cardamom and envision LP3 crackling from the tiny speakers of a crazy-ass curry cafe in Bombay. Or the deep bass throbs floating out over the sea during one of those full moon beach parties in Maui. Or blasting along with the laser light show each night at the Giza Complex, the beats penetrating into the hidden chambers located under the paws of the Great Sphinx. Or the synthesizers cutting through the cool air over the highlands of Columbia, the sounds landing in the wide open hearts of the indigenous tribal leaders, the women smiling with that reassurance that comes only after having so deeply seen into the future, the men are dancing fiercely in their all white tunics with cactus-woven shoulder bags. With their telepathy still fully intact, the Indians see visions of two skinny white boys from Brooklyn delivering the sonic fire flowers. Then they see with their inner-vision the badboy heavy metal-style â€œRATATATâ€ font on the back of the record and exclaim to themselves, â€œWow…that translates as â€Dream Creamâ€ in our native tongue!!â€ -White Flight, 2008