As on 1994's Music for the Native Americans, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy finds former Band leader Robbie Robertson incorporating Native American musical textures into ultramodern soundscapes. Once again, Robertso... more »n fares best when he turns the microphone over to his guests. Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike's "Peyote Healing" is almost otherworldly in its beauty, and political prisoner Leonard Peltier's guest rap on "Sacrifice" lends the record some legitimate political weight. In comparison, Robertson's mannered, overly processed vocals make songs like "In the Blood" sound like Don Henley attempting a Native American version of Paul Simon's album Graceland; one hopes that this wasn't exactly what he was trying for. --Dan Epstein« less
As on 1994's Music for the Native Americans, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy finds former Band leader Robbie Robertson incorporating Native American musical textures into ultramodern soundscapes. Once again, Robertson fares best when he turns the microphone over to his guests. Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike's "Peyote Healing" is almost otherworldly in its beauty, and political prisoner Leonard Peltier's guest rap on "Sacrifice" lends the record some legitimate political weight. In comparison, Robertson's mannered, overly processed vocals make songs like "In the Blood" sound like Don Henley attempting a Native American version of Paul Simon's album Graceland; one hopes that this wasn't exactly what he was trying for. --Dan Epstein
"So, you've already worn out your Graceland & Rhythm of the Saints recordings? Good news, Wasichu! Robbie Robertson gives you a taste of ethnicity folded into corporate musical paradigms. Hop into your Suburban with alloy wheels and shove this disk into your player while you cruise the 'burbs. Listen to it and feel spiritual--maybe you've even read all the Lynn V. Andrews books and are nearly a shaman yourself. Anyway, don't get too comfortable, this music can mess you up for life.I was once a happy yuppie, just like you. I lived in the America of the free and the brave. I already had Robertson's Music for the Native Americans and considered it one of my faves. After I heard an NPR interview with Robbie about his latest project, I rushed out to get my own copy of this CD. Hey! This music isn't quite as "spiritual" as the other stuff. This music has an undertone of anger. Still, I was as angry as the next guy, and I know that "once upon a time" injustices were perpetrated against these noble primitives. Of course they're angy--but isn't it nice how they preserved their traditions so that we forked-tongue palefaces can appropriate them for ourselves?"Making a noise in this world ... I don't want your promise ... I don't want your whiskey ... I only want what belongs to me" What's that all about? Don't we have treaties? Federal grants to people on the reservations?Sacrifice. Track 5. Cool, esoteric opening. Who's this guy saying "We have a million stories to tell, I'm just one of the million or more stories that could be told"? Leonard Peltier? Who's that? "Sacrifice your freedom, sacrifice your prayer, take away your language, cut off all your hair, sacrifice the loved ones who always stood by me, stranded in the wasteland, set my spirit free.""I'm living in the United States Penitentary, which is the swiftest growing Indian reservation in the country."Whoa! That's not right!"Shootout ... two agents killed ... one indian murdered ... I was found guilty before a jury of non-Indian people ... The prosecutor stated that they did not know who killed their agents nor did he know what participation Leonard Peltier *may* have played in it, but someone has to pay for the crime ... a lot of nights I lay in my cell and I can't understand this hell, this hell and this terror ..."Leonard's word is too compelling to ignore. Cruise the internet. Read his story. Find out about broken treaties, about activists harrassed, jailed, murdered. Maybe this is the "Land of the Free," but it helps to have white skin. I can't go back. Innocence was so easy. "I've gone too far to back down ... not until my people are free will I give up ... if I have to sacrifice some more, then I'll sacrifice some more."Don't buy this CD unless you're willing to examine your role in the oppression of indigenous people. I noticed that this album is most popular in Denmark! Hey, that figures. The Danes didn't massacre, starve, poison, and infect 10,000,000 people, then beat the survivors for practicing their traditional religion. My ancestors came to this country after the last of the Native Americans was safely herded onto a reservation, treated worse than cattle in many instances. Not my fault, eh? Whose land do I live on? Whose government continues to oppress, persecute, and cheat the survivors? I'm a white American, a wasichu. When I do not act, I become an accomplice to genocide, to persecution and oppression.There. I've warned you. Click somewhere safer. Get yourself a nice Carlos Nakai flute CD. Go buy another Lynn V. Andrews book. But whatever you do, DON'T buy Leonard Peltier's book, Prison Writings. Then you'll *really* never be the same."
Paul Bridges | California | 12/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With some native american heritage myself, I've sampled a few artists (Nakai, etc). But I put this album and Robertson's "Music for Native Americans" together at the top of my "native american" list. It's traditionally influenced without being trite, modern without being too edgy. Thumbs up."
Fred McGhee | Austin, TX | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Better than therapy, lovelier than a summer rain, smoother than smoke, heart pounding like Bison, sentimental like a first kiss, tougher than leather, rapturous like love. Robbie Robertson delivers once again. This album does the very difficult: it communicates an authentic sense of culture and history without beating you upside the head, while also being totally OPEN and embracing to outside influence. This music communicates its history to you in simultaneously subtle and overt ways (just like most Indigenous people do in person), and speaks to your head and heart at the same time. And for good measure, it also gets you off your ass and gets you dancing. Now what could be better than that?For God's sake Robbie, you've made us wait long enough! Give us another album already!"
Neo-Traditional Aspects of Sound
Come Again Moon | United States | 11/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*****This music is as free and uncontainable, as the Spirit of the indigeonous peoples of Turtle Island.With precise skill and Creativity, Robbie Robertson, again, steps from the roll of performer, to take his place beside the likes of Paul Simon, as one of today's most profound producers in the music industry.Contact From The Underworld of Red Boy, is yet another level of Sacred Spirit manifested into the physical, through the inner worlds of Robbie Robertson."Sacrifice," with Leonard Peltier, is a welcomed and needed reminder of the fast-shrinking rights and liberties of every man woman and child, of this great land and I'm glad to have this paticular cut, to pass on, to those who need to hear "one of a million stories."This album is blessed with Traditional Ceremony and charged with enough techno-fun, to carry the soul, easily, between the worlds of heaven and Earth. I find Robbie's musical transcendence, a joy to experience.Steamy and haunting, like the inipi ceremony.Hey Robbie, is it hot in here, or is it just YOU!In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse,
Come Again Moon"
Encompasses the cutting edge of modern music . . .
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 04/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
". . . while remaining authentic Indian to the bone. An incredible mixture of musical cultures combining brilliantly realized studio wizardry with Native American singers and styles. I especially love the opener "The Sound Is Fading" that features insistent background chanting from Leah Hicks-Manning (DO-IT!-DO-IT!-DO-IT!). Incredible guitar from Robbie Robertson that seems to harness the echos of the universe with solomn rage.
The feelings of Indian Pride and the raw exposed emotions with occasional animosity toward white people may be off-putting to some, but I say TOUGH. There are legitimate emotions here that need to be expressed. The always beautiful but occasionally uncomfortable music perfectly compliments the often heart-wrenching subject matter.
The entire album is extremely sensual sounding, in particular "The Code of Handsome Lake" and "Unbound," the latter being one of my favorites that I felt deserved more airplay than it got. All these songs skillfully deliver their powerful messages without banging you over the head with them. That's not to say that some don't get pretty intense, especially "Making a Noise" and "Rattlebone." The voices of Indian Warriors on these tracks are downright scary. In fact, the vocals all over this album are pretty fantastic and unique.
"Sacrifice" demands to be heard. Leonard Peltier matter-of-factly relates his heartbreaking story of being falsely imprisoned for over 20 years. Over a meditative beat, stirring female vocals and otherworldly swirling effects, Peltier maintains a determination to never give up: "Not until my people are free will I give up." He was recorded over a phone line from prison where he remains to this day, condemned in the name of vengeance.
Primeaux and Mike bestow "Peyote Healing" with extremely soothing vocals. The whole song is positively etheral. "In the Blood" is jubilant, funky and majestically defiant, possibly the best song on the album. "Stomp Dance" is a triumphant affirmation that America is still Indian Country. "The Lights" is a solomn, mysterious track that alludes to Indian knowledge still unperceived by the average caucasian. An ominous closing track.
The bonus cut is way cool. Someone on this forum rightly compared it to a square dance song. A killer piano loop and hip-hop beat hypnotize as Robertson paints a surreal picture of some sort of counterculture clubland. Killer scratching. I love DJ Premier and think it would be great if Robbie collaborated on a whole album with him."