- Rat Race
- Se Chifló
- Rat Race (Dub)
- Rat Breaks (Live)
- Se Chifló (Dub)
After a lengthy recording hiatus, Antibalas is back in the game with the release of a new 12-inch single on June 7, 2011. Recorded at Don’t Trip Studios in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and produced by Victor Axelrod, the 12-inch features an innovative arrangement of the Bob Marley classic “Rat Race”, along with “Se Chifló”, a lively, swinging tune that revives the links between Afrocuban music and Afrobeat, featuring Spanish vocals by Marcos García. Side B features dub mixes of each song, as well as bonus breakbeats.
The story behind Antibalas and “Rat Race” began in the winter of 2006. Palm Pictures invited Antibalas to the studio to arrange and record three Bob Marley songs in their own style. The sessions were electrifying and the process of reworking and performing the songs created an even deeper and more intimate appreciation for Bob Marley’s work.
In the meantime, the band had become entranced by the dark, epic, 9-minute arrangement of “Rat Race,” prepared by Antibalas keyboardist/producer Victor Axelrod (Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, Dub Side of the Moon), and the song quickly became a staple of their live show. After two years of performing “Rat Race” for audiences from the Canary Islands to Paris to Vancouver to Brooklyn, the band decided it was time to re-record the song and Axelrod was the right man for the job.
A few years later, guitarist Marcos García dug up an unreleased Antibalas demo, added lyrics, and wound up with the song “Se Chifló.” The title, in Cuban slang, roughly meaning “he went crazy” or “things are crazy,” refers to the general lack of accountability, responsibility, and transparency between such authorities (police, banks, and elected officials) and the billions of everyday people that pay the true price for their theft and incompetence.
The EP also features full-length dub mixes of both “Rat Race” and “Se Chifló,” as well as “Rat Breaks,” a breakbeat mix of drums and percussion for fans of Axelrod’s dub treatment of Antibalas dancefloor classic version of “Che Che Makossa.”
The moment of the release of the “Rat Race” EP could not be more critical and timely, amidst the devastating economic, environmental, and social challenges confronting humanity. Antibalas is proud and privileged to be able to pay homage to Bob Marley, keeping alive his rallying cry against the inhumanity and desperation faced by many every day. This is the fruit of many tireless years on the road, stage, and in the studio, and represents the first of many songs in Antibalas’ bag that will be released over the coming years.