An audio/video nature extravaganza

Photo: Jocelyn Michel

Birds chirp and water splashes as the words flow and everything collides into an irresistible dance beat. The National Parcs played until dawn at their bush campgrounds to create Timbervision, the summertime backyard party CD.

The Parcs are made up of the international acclaimed DJ Freeworm, his beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Chimwemwe Miller and audio/video artist Ian Cameron. In their latest CD, the group visited national parks to record sounds of nature they have mixed with hip-hop, electronica and African harmonies. It's a well-balanced sound collage with a lot of deliberate environmental content that manages not to preach.

On the Awestruck track the sounds of nature and lush harmonies of acoustic guitars join some fast and furious rapping about the coming changes. A voice asks ominously "Who will spare me now?" In Powerline, the chorus, accompanied by an African beat, asks to "hook me up to the power lines cause I got watts to spare, am gonnna light the land."

Great rhythms and acoustic guitar offset the harsh lyrics in Twelve Word Song: "Timber left for used, what we use, used, is what we used. But as if to remind us nature has survived, the band sings a cappella with loons (after all this earth/world beat party disc is Canadian, eh).

The Parcs avoid becoming too eco-geeky with tracks like Brother From Another Mother where the infectious beat lengthens into a hypnotic harmony evoking the urban landscape.

By the time you reach Pine Cone Jive you have moved into a more universal beat with a sound reminiscent of Fela Kuti's African fusion. With Timbervision you start off at the backyard party and move deeper into nature just as the music becomes earthier and transcends cultural borders.

You can watch the whole creative process unfold on the accompanying DVD. The video shows the samples being recorded along with the nature vignettes eing shot. Then you get to watch how everything is mixed visually to sync with the audio. It's an interesting demo of just how funky nature can be, especially when a band like National Parcs relaxes in it.

Timbersion, The National Parks, Audiogram Records.