Pod

Afro Celt Sound System

Released 13 July 2004

  1. Rise Above (Remix By Simon Emmerson, James McNally And Mass)
  2. Johnny At Sea (Mix By Martin Russell And Mass)
  3. Persistence Of Memory (Remix By Rae And Christian)
  4. Further In Time (Remix By Mass)
  5. Full Moon Low Tide (Remix By DJ Toshio)
  6. Release (Remix By Rollo And Sister Bliss)
  7. Release It (Masters At Work Segue / DJ Edit)
  8. Whirly 3 (Remix By Simon Emmerson, James McNally And Mass)
  9. Riding The Skies (Remix By Mass And Simon Emmerson)
  10. Éireann (Remix By Mass)
  11. Release (Remix By Bipolar)
  12. When You're Falling (Remix By Wren And Morley)
  13. Lagan (Remix By Simon Emmerson, James McNally And Mass)

Liner notes

Pod is a personal collection of some of the very best remixes from the Afro Celt Sound System’s career to 2004. The album also showcases previously unreleased material, and reinvents old classics with a driving new rhythm section.

The original version of Pod features an exclusive 25-minute DVD created in partnership with Real World’s multimedia department. In short Pod takes their music kicking and screaming into a new era of surround sound entertainment and cinematic pyrotechnics.

The Real World Gold reissue has become a two-CD set, packaged together with Release Remixes, originally unleashed in 2000 but long since unavailable on CD. As its name suggests, it contains reinterpretations of the much-beloved track Release from the likes of Masters At Work, Rollo and Sister Bliss from Faithless, and Bipolar. It’s a heady reminder of just how this band sketched out the musical future.

“Unlike conventional remix albums, we have actually used the opportunity to work in our new band,” guitarist and founder member Simon Emmerson pointed out when discussing the ideas behind Pod. “With tracks such as ‘Riding The Skies’ and ‘Whirly 3’ we actually remixed in live drum and bass. Effectively we’ve taken DJ culture and turned it on its head by remixing with real instruments. For example ‘Whirly 3’ has been completely reworked by the band and is now the big finale tune in our live set.”

There are also remixes from celebrated producers Masters At Work, Rae & Christian, DJ Toshio from U.F.O., and Rollo & Sister Bliss, mixed into a storming club set by Simon Emmerson: “The whole DJ mix section is indicative of my DJ work. It’s become more common place for Global Beat DJ’s to beat-mix nowadays and I wanted to represent that.”

On the DVD we get to glimpse the Afro Celt Sound System at their most scintillating, live on stage in Seattle during WOMAD USA 2001. “It was an historic gig for us,” explains Emmerson. The band played in front of 15,000 people, with Peter Gabriel making a rare guest appearance on stage. “It was really the year that we were set to break America, but then 9/11 happened and our video of When You’re Falling had to be withdrawn just as it was about to go on heavy rotation on VH-1. It’s such a powerful video, but it was just one of the many setbacks that we’ve had to endure as a band.”

The album artwork features a Japanese print taken from the Getty Collection. “As this was a special package with a fresh approach to the many facets of our the music we felt compelled to create a new atmosphere for the cover,” McNally points out. “Jamie Reid’s artwork has been very significant on previous albums. His visuals have complemented the ethos of the band, and our collaboration with him continues fantastically on the visual feast of North on the DVD. But as a band who encompass the element of surprise, our fans know not to have any preconceived ideas of what we will do next. The image of six Japanese men in their hotel pods looking in different directions very much represents us as a band. We are very different people coming from different cultures and experiences, but within each of us lies one common spirit that connects us all and fundamentally finding that spirit is the key to what makes the Afro Celts tick.”

If the band’s enthusiasm for the musical aspect of ‘Pod’ weren’t enough, then they are positively ecstatic over the multimedia aspect of it. “We have live footage of the band in Seattle during one of our best gigs, and we’ve remixed ‘North’ in 5/1 surround sound. In that way you can fill the room with sound from five speakers and one bass bin. It’s as close to the studio experience as you’ll get. Our music works really well in this context and it’s in keeping with the bands desire to always keep moving forward.” Combining the crisp, expansive multi-directional sound with the stunning visual montage of classic Afro Celt footage and spiralling computer generated effects, this revitalised track provided a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Afro Celt Sound System.

No less remarkable are the video’s for ‘When You’re Falling’ and the Rae & Christian remix of ‘Persistence of Memory’. For the latter director Jean Francois Julian travelled to around twenty countries and four continents covering Asia, North and South America, Africa, the Eastern Bloc, and Iceland in an amazing six-week period. The startling imagery makes ‘Persistence of Memory’ a truly memorable, and culturally vibrant visual experience.

Listen

Further Listening

  • Capture

    Afro Celt Sound System

    Released 06 September 2010

    A career-spanning double album of electro-charge global fusion, cherry-picked from the collective's five acclaimed studio albums, and divided into songs (Verse) and instrumentals (Chorus). All the tracks are beautifully re-mastered to lend the sound new warmth and allow the dynamics to emerge as originally intended.
  • Volume 2: Release

    Afro Celt Sound System

    Released 25 January 1999

    Volume 2 represents the transformation of a project conceived at the 1995 Real World Recording Week into a cohesive band. The multi-layered production has many hidden depths, bringing out the delicacy of the acoustic instruments - harp, kora, talking drum, bodhran, djembe, whistle, guitar, Gaelic and African vocals - but placing them in a totally immersive Pan European context.

Further reading

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The track features on the brand new EP of the same name, out now digitally.

Dub Colossus announce new remix EP, A Spy In The House of Dub

Marking 10 years since the first release by Dub Colossus, the new EP is released later this month.

Track of the Day: ‘In The Sun’ by Joseph Arthur

A look back on Arthur's most popular song, which featured on 2000's Come To Where I'm From.

A look back on Geoffrey Oryema’s 1993 video for ‘The River’

Marking the 25th anniversary of Beat The Border, the official video for 'The River' is now online.