Band of the Day

2012.01.11

Ritmo Machine

A cross-cultural, genre-spanning fusion of sizzling beats
We're the best in the set, the rest will just bore you.
lyrics from Witness This Heat

Ritmo Machine is a collaborative project between Chilean DJ/producer Latin Bitman, and New York-based percussionist/producer Eric Bobo (of Cypress Hill/Beastie Boys). Prior to collaborating as the Ritmo Machine, Latin Bitman was known for being an established mix master, both in his native Chile and worldwide. Bobo, a native of Queens, New York, has been a full time member of Cypress Hill since 1994. He's also toured and recorded with the Beastie Boys, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Gnarls Barkley, to Rage Against The Machine, and The Smashing Pumpkins. In early 2011, Bobo and Bitman connected during Cypress Hill's South American Lollapalooza tour. They spent time together in Buenos Aires, Argentina to record their debut album, Welcome to the Ritmo Machine, which was released through Nacional Records in November 2011. Together, their music draws from each artist's respective musical backgrounds, including: hip hop, Latin, electronic, African, funk, Brazilian, reggae, and hip hop. Ritmo Machine are slated to perform at Lollapalooza 2012 in Santiago, Chile.

Ritmo Machine, a collaborative project between Chilean DJ/producer Latin Bitman and New York-based percussionist/producer Eric Bobo (of Cypress Hill/Beastie Boys), seems to cover nearly the entire A-Z spectrum of music genres. Afro-beat, bossa nova, cumbia, dubstep, electronic, funk, groove, and hip hop are just a few of the genres that can be heard on their debut album, Welcome to the Ritmo Machine. While this might seem like a laundry list of music styles, Bitman and Bobo expertly fuse together a collection of sizzling beats that's anything but disjointed. After connecting during Cypress Hill's South American Lollapalooza tour in early 2011, the two super producers decided to join forces and record an album together in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Welcome to the Ritmo Machine,” the album's opening track, serves as a sonic translation of their band name, with chopped up and looped exclamations of “rhythm!” and “machine!” It also combines vinyl scratching and horns that sound like they came from a car chase scene in a 70s action flick. “Maestro” (which translates as “Teacher”), starts off with a short exchange between a teacher and his pupil: “Esta preparada, senorita? (“Are you ready, miss?”),” asks the teacher. “Si, maestro (“Yes, teacher”),” responds the young girl. There's an early 90s feel to the music, with Bitman's expertly-scratched vinyl that pays respect to the emerging era of turntablism. Alongside Bitman and Bobo, the album features a number of notable guest stars, including the Beastie Boys' Money Mark and Mix Master Mike, Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux, and Jurassic 5's Chali 2na. In an album primarily built on instrumental tracks, the latter's rapping on “Witness This Heat” especially stands out. His gruff baritone flow fires through lines like, “We're the best in the set/the rest will just bore you!” Combined with Bobo's live Latin percussion, and bossa nova-style vocal harmonies of “ba-di-ya's,” the effect is nothing short of booty-shaking. This vintage, bossa nova feel can also be heard in the album's closing track, “Brazil”—appropriately so, as that's where this style of music started in the late 1950s. Its upbeat, charming flair will have you imagining yourself in a Carnival parade in Rio—a welcome musical escape to help get you through the remaining frigid days of winter.