Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart Previews New Solo Album ‘RAMU’
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart unveiled two new songs – “Wayward Son,” featuring Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, and “Big Bad Wolf” featuring Tank – from his upcoming album, RAMU, out November 10th via Verve Forecast.
“Wayward Sons” opens with an abstract flourish and while it quickly settles into a mid-tempo groove, the track never loses its spaced-out vibe. Synths squelch and swirl along with Hart’s percussion while Tare sings in his dry croon, “How are you to know me/ When life is finally run?/ How are you to tell me from/ Another wayward son?”
“Big Bad Wolf” boasts similarly surreal instrumentals but with a sinister edge and a subtle energy that rumbles beneath a politically charged vocal performance from Tarriona “Tank” Ball of the New Orleans outfit Tank and the Bangas. “But it’s about to get real in this bitch,” she spits, “For a big Trump took a huge dump/ On the American progression/ Wiped his ass with the American flag/ And now half the stars are missing.”
Per Pitchfork, Hart said that the election of President Trump and the current political climate was a major influence on RAMU. “I can’t tell you how loud I’m screaming and, as a musician, this is how we scream – to shine light on things that are dark, and shine some understanding on life and this horrible human being leading our country,” he said.
Hart recorded RAMU at his own Studio X in California with co-producer Michael Menert. The record marks his first album since 2013’s Superorganism and features recordings from late Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia, Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and unreleased Alan Lomax field recordings. The record also features String Cheese Incident’s Jason Hann, Charles Lloyd, Oteil Burbridge on bass, Steve Kimock on guitar, Sikiru Adepoju on talking drum and Zakir Hussain on tabla.
RAMU gets its name from Hart’s own musical database, Random Access Musical Universe, which he has also turned into an instrument. The RAMU database comprises an array of sounds, from digital samples to sonifications of plants, which Hart has been collecting since the late Sixties. The instrument and multi-dimensional rhythm machine Hart has created with RAMU served as the foundation for his new record.
Mickey Hart RAMU Track List
2. “Wayward Son”
3. “Big Bag Wolf”
4. “The Lost Coast”
5. “Who Do You Think You Are”
6. “You Remind Me”
7. “When the Morning Comes”
9. “Wine Wine Wine”
11. “Spreading the News”
12. “Infinite Space”