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Critiques CD: A Tribe Called Red | Nation II Nation

A Tribe Called Red have essentially created and defined their own subgenre of dance music—electric powwow—and Nation II Nation stays true to both their eclectic electric and pow wow roots. The Ottawa-based trio’s second album sees the collective making a slight shift towards a hard house, hands-in-the-air side of the dancefloor (Sisters, Tanto’s Revenge, Sweet Milk Pop) but ATCR’s music still stubbornly resists mainstream categorization. There’s a bit less of the cinematic hip-hop and dubstep vibe of the first album (though PCB explores more ethereal territory and Red Riddim contains echoes of dancehall and dubstep/d&b). This is perhaps because ATCR’s process this time round featured more direct studio collaborations with other aboriginal artists from the Tribal Spirit label, like Northern Voice, Black Bear and Eastern Eagle, rather than constructing tracks using and repurposing samples of prerecorded work by native artists. On the surface and initial listen, Nation II Nation seems a bit busier than ATCR’s stunning self-titled debut but this falls away as you sink deeper and deeper into the tracks with repeated listens. The easiest track to fall for is the album opener, Bread & Cheese (featuring Black Bear)—a big, spacious track that provides plenty of room for the rhythms to live and breathe, it serves as an entry point into a whole new world of extraordinary sounds and rhythms.