Slow Machete is the collaboration project between Joseph Shaffer and various Haitian singers. Prior to the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti sometime ago, Joe spent some time in the country visiting a friend who was living at an orphanage in Cap-Haitien.
Having fallen in love with Haitian music during his first trip, Joe became interested in recording the sounds of Haiti. During his trips thereafter, Joe traveled with binaural microphones to record singers and field sounds. He continued this process for four years, after which he found himself with multiple half-takes and practice session recordings. According to an interview with Pigeons & Planes, Joe stated that “most of the outtakes occurred when I asked them to perform again, but they wouldn’t convey the same emotional vibe as in the outtake. So you’d have a ‘moment’ in a song that was very powerful, emotionally evoking, and the song would cut short. During the re-take she’d be shy, or they’d start in a different key, or someone else would take that part. So you’re left with 10 seconds that are beautiful but too short to release as a choir song.” In order to create full tracks, Joe began mixing the recordings with his own production, thus birthing, Slow Machete.
“Until Your Father Sleeps” is the fourth track from Slow Machete’s first album, “Evening Dust Choir.” Deep, burning string swells and a muted brass section create the perfect soundscape for the male singer’s effortlessly raw voice. Chopped chant like vocals added during the chorus evoke an incredibly organic sentiment that pushed me over the edge when hearing the track for the first time.
Slow Machete has just released their new album, “Mango Tree,” and it is available for purchase on their BandCamp page. Proceeds from any sales of Slow Machete music will go directly to support agricultural and educational programs in Cap-Haitien. Do your soul a massive favor and purchase these albums, they are both a beautiful listen.