New Earth Records, 2002

label website
Commit to celebrated Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy as your aural tour guide and collaborator; visit Egypt with Shure KSM-32 microphones to capture authentic location ambience while also recording vocalists Nahid Katebi, Houda El Samobaty, Rehab Metawi and Magda Abdel Halim; return to the studio in the States and give your tape harvest the twice-over trance/techno treatment. As Waterbone, Jimmy Waldo (managed and toured with Kiss, Cheap Trick and Heart, wrote for and worked with Eddie Kramer, Todd Rundgren and Peter Frampton) and Dr. Kendall Jones (Berkeley-trained classical composer, classical and rock guitarist, soundtracks and commercials) transform what could have been merely another long-since exhausted concept into an unusually organic and satisfying entry in the emerging ethnic/world electronica genre.

What differentiates Orion Prophecy from other beat-driven but coldly repetitive synth fests is how seamlessly it interweaves live percussion, exotic vocals and regional instruments like the Ney, arghoul and kawal flutes, Middle-Eastern violin and the mizmar oboe into the expected groove construction of colossal bass throbs interspersed with the self-propelling circular patterns of Oriental rhythms. Reminiscent of Tulku while focusing its exotic samples exclusively on Egypt, Prophecy craftily avoids the relentless and sterile assault of pure techno. Instead, it emulates the premiere examples of remixers and studio wizards like Bally Sagoo and Karsh Kale who, in their own ways, rely as much on structural expertise as formally trained composers.

Having undergone the considerable effort to handpick live performers on location while absorbing the bazaar culture with its street musicians surely wove its way into the final product, as did the production duo's extensive prior experience in the music industry. This is similar to the controversial subject of collages in the visual arts. Anyone can take actual or virtual scissors to cut'n'paste other people's work. The superior vision and craftsmanship of true masters, however, turns the process and final product of assemblage into its own compelling art form. Waterbone's debut for New Earth Records falls squarely into this latter category and is likely a harbinger of exciting future releases for this adventurous duo who seem to be following in the footsteps of their French predecessors of the original two Deep Forest efforts.