When Berlin meets Jamaica via one of those dank, dark, secret and abandoned train tunnels from wartimes past, the result is a collision of urban spiritualities – cult label Basic Channel’s frozen techno and some of the Caribbean island’s most incandescent vocalists – that hover together like a gas, like a semi-condensed fog, swirling and twirling in and out of physical states, from solid to liquid back to evaporation, and all over again, pronouncing the uncertainty of all things; their permanent, almost geological rearrangement. From it derives a new sense of space: “We Been Troddin” distils emptiness in a crowd but pours crackling presence all over deserted streets. It speaks movement, eternal, at the same time that it feeds on stillness, infinite. The loops that return like the steps of the exodus have color in their grain, but it fluctuates so fast and so imperceptibly that all you see is greenish grey. The echoes help your mind embrace every crack and dip in the topography, spreading like an octopus of metaphysical wonder. And the voice, well the voice draws you in and takes you out (of yourself): full and soaring one minute, it embodies the displaced, the oppressed collective it sings about – before exploding into something not quite corporeal, with the end of every verse.
In short, one of the most beautiful pieces of meditative music ever recorded, for when you feel like you’d want to be more than just your self.
Rhythm & Sound w/ Shalom – “We Been Troddin” (from With the Artists, Burial Mix 2003)