Since touring all over in support of his jazzy-house debut album, Music Fiction (Om, 2003), DJ and multi-instrumentalist Rithma (aka Etienne Stehelin) decided nothing could be too portable for his next ideas. “I decided to start humming, singing or beatboxing my ideas into this little piece-of-shit tape recorder I bought at Sav-On,” he says. And with a nylon guitar and a penchant for Latin jazz, Rithma started recording. He says the new album (title TBD, due in fall 2006 on Om) will have the same amount of electronics with more musicians and outboard gear as opposed to everything in the box. Rithma pulled out an old E-mu sampler, a Roland Juno synth and an Oberheim Xpander he found by the road “all full of rust and rat shit.” This time, he is looking for more soul and less perfect polish. “I'm getting real tired of these glimmering, perfectly produced tracks that sound like they're made in a Ferrari factory,” he says.
Rithma is now “cranking out ideas like funnel cakes at Disneyland,” he says, so the songs are coming as fast as his similes. Before that, though, he did have a two-year bout with writer's block and had to claw his way out. “I started picking audio off my hard drive at random — old phone messages, movie soundtracks, hip-hop tracks, whale sounds, porn samples — and stacking them into the arrange window all in the same spot, dumping effects in there onto each of the sounds, twisting the knobs, basically treating the whole thing like a baby throwing a fit, like someone who's never touched software before and who knows nothing about music. The result was a head-crushing, noisy mess on ice, being eaten alive by ants. I snipped all the best parts out of that and made them into nice little sample sets, great for percussive breaks and adding general insanity to the tracks.”