I was skeptical when Watcha Clan‘s “world & bass” sound first crossed my path and their first show left me unimpressed (Deciphering Watcha Clan). But there was something there that kept me coming back: the musical goals were ambitious and sometimes sometimes it really worked. Then the second time I saw them it all came together (Watcha Clan, Live in San Francisco). That performance and a conversation with keyboardist left me eagerly awaiting their new album:
…Clement and I talked about the change in the approach Watcha Clan was taking to creating musical fusion on their new album (for release in early 2011). The album will include more North African, Balkan and Jewish songs, including a Yemeni song played in a Balkan way. Clement said it’s in the same format – “traditional plus electric but deeper.” This time, they are spending less time working on the arrangements and putting more attention to finding the emotion. For each song, they start by recording two or three simple vocal tracks by Karine or Nassim. Then when they have a good vocal take, they build a mix around it. The approach seems to be paying early dividends. On Sunday night, the arrangements of the songs fromDiaspora Hi-Fi were more dynamic and felt both more immediate and filled out. They bore little resemblance to the watered-down versions I’d bemoaned last time I’d seen them. Last time, I saw Watcha Clan, I left eagerly awaiting their new album but unsure if I’d see them again live. This time, I’m eagerly awaiting the new album and looking forward to seeing them again when they return for a North American tour next year. And, remember, never judge a band by a single performance.