New Orleans' multi-tasking funk outfit Galactic is set to return on Feb. 9, 2010 with its sixth studio album, entitled "Ya-Ka-May." The 15 song set is the group's second for Anti- and features numerous collaborations, including New Orleans staples Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint and the Rebirth Brass Band. Also joining in are lesser-known local musicians such as hip-hop artists Cheeky Blakk and Katey Red.
Galactic drummer tells Billboard.com that the sessions for "Ya-Ka-May" followed immediately after the release of 2007's "From the Corner to the Block," a set that also featured a host of collaborations -- but drew from artists that are popular within that alternative hip-hop genre (i.e. Boots Riley, Mr. Lif, Gift of Gab). "That was something different than we had done before," Moore says. "And it panned out really well for us. It helped us take a step forward. We got onto festivals and TV stuff that we hadn't been offered before. The concept for ["Ya-Ka-May"] was to get artists who were all from New Orleans, regardless of genre."
Indeed, "Ya-Ka-May" finds Galactic exploring familiar territory of Mardi Gras-inspired funk during "Boe Money" and "Wild Man," while taking some more unconventional approaches during "Liquor Pang" and "Do It Again." Moore says a few of the tracks draw from a "bounce" tradition, a very specific New Orleans sub-genre of hip-hop. "It's based on very specific beats that the rappers rap over," Moore says. "We've taken some rappers that work within the bounce genre and then we've done something differently. We haven't even created bounce music with them. It's our own interpretation, creating something that's new."
In composing the tunes for "Ya-Ka-May," Moore says the group would present the artists with a handful of snippets, letting them choose what they'd like to write around. "We'd come up with different embryos of tunes - thirty seconds to one and a half minute ideas and we'll present these to people. They'll pick the tunes they want to write to and contribute the verses or the choruses."
Galactic will be on tour the first half of 2010, including appearances at the New Orleans Jazzfest, a five day slot on the Jamcruise this January and some East Coast dates in early June. And for those not familiar with New Orleans cuisine, the album title is a play off the local dish, "Ya Ka Mein."
"It's like New Orleans soul food, but with an Asian twist," Moore says. "We just modified that for our purposes. It's not like we're naming the record after a soup."
Here is the "Ya-Ka-May" track list:
"Friends of Science"
"Boe Money" (featuring the Rebirth Brass Band)
"Double It" (featuring Big Freedia)
"Heart of Steel" (featuring Irma Thomas)
"Wild Man" (featuring Big Chief Bo Dollis)
"Bacchus" (featuring Allen Toussaint)
"Katey vs. Nobby" (featuring Katey Red and Sissy Nobby)
"Cineramascope" (featuring Trombone Shorty and Corey Henry)
"Dark Water" (featuring John Boutte)
"Liquor Pang" (featuring Josh Cohen and Scully)
"You Don't Know" (featuring Glen David Andrews)
"Speaks His Mind" (featuring Walter "Wolfman" Washington")
"Do It Again (again)" (featuring Cheeky Blakk)