Madison world-music ensemble Primitive Culture invites listeners to "break on through to the other side" in "Hook Up," a single off of the band's new album, Fantasy. However, this isn't the psychedelic "other side" of Jim Morrison and the Doors. It's more of the "drop everything and move to Latin America" variety.
Yes, the song is about what the title suggests, but it seems to be about something else as well: letting go of mistakes made in the past and not limiting your idea of what the future holds. Or, as singer/guitarist David Hecht puts it, "Don't retreat because of where you've been."
Hecht, who grew up along the Texas-Mexico border until moving to Madison for high school, has been playing Latin music for a long time, first as a student and then as a member of the touring band JAVA. It wasn't until he left JAVA, though, that he shed his inhibitions and moved to Latin America. And it wasn't until he returned to Madison in 1998 that he found the right group of people for Primitive Culture, including Bruce and Jerry Neviaser, two friends from his high school years.
In other words, Hecht needed to travel the world to find his way home, both personally and musically. Perhaps "Hook Up" is a story about that, too, at least on some level. While the band often ventures into reggae and calypso territory, here the saxophone and trombone players are used to speak a different musical language, one that's more Mexican than Carribbean. The result sounds like a south-of-the-border journey, with Tex-Mex swing, mariachi and more cooked into a flavorful, danceable melange.
Sharp and funky drumming keeps the song alive from the start, but it's the sultry, minor-key saxophone interludes that make the song groovy and as cool as it is hot. The most intriguing thing is that it feels like a celebration while sounding effortless. With a roster that includes performing veterans like Bob Corbit, who can play two saxes at once, it probably is effortless. Deciding to broaden your own horizons, whether through travel or listening to music, is the hard part.
An MP3 of "Hook Up" is available in the related downloads section at right. More music by Primitive Culture is available on its MySpace page. The band will celebrate the release of Fantasy with a show at the High Noon Saloon on Sunday, November 29.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.