Today, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart formally announced his new solo album, RAMU, which will drop on November 10th via Verve Forecast. Mickey Hart’s RAMU is co-produced by Michal Menert (formerly of Pretty Lights). It will also feature lyrics by famed Grateful Dead wordsmith Robert Hunter, with Hart elaborating in a statement, “I think this album has some brilliant writing by Hunter, some of his best writing.” While RAMU has an extensive list of collaborators ranging from Dead & Company’s Oteil Burbridge to Animal Collective’s Avey Tare to Tank and the Bangas’ Tarriona “Tank” Ball, the album will also contain recordings from the late Grateful Dead icon Jerry Garcia.

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In past months, the project has been gaining a lot of buzz in the jam world as fans have gotten hints as to who else might appear on RAMUJason Hann of String Cheese Incident and Oteil Burbridge of Dead & Company both posted on social media over the summer that they were in the studio with Hart. In addition to Hann and Burbridge, the new album will also feature collaborations with Avey Tare (Animal Collective), Tarriona “Tank” Ball (Tank and the Bangas), Steve KimockZakir HussainSikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo. Recordings from Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and field recordings from ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax will also be featured on RAMU.

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As Mickey Hart explained in a statement, “For this record, I knew what I wanted. This wasn’t a wandering-in-the-desert kind of project. There were certain things at the core: a great backbeat, great groove, using non-traditional and homemade instruments to include the world’s music in contemporary dance music. I wanted to create a new stew, a new recipe for making music.”

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Using RAMU, Hart’s archival database that he’s been using since the 1980s, the Grateful Dead percussionist has crafted songs around unlikely inspiration, with recordings of a 1940s auctioneer and an old longshoreman’s chant giving form to two of the tunes. As he explained, “”RAMU is truly a multidimensional instrument that allows you to travel to new universes at the flip of a switch. … Everything goes through RAMU, the mothership. It’s my instrument, and it’s a very powerful compositional tool. It’s vast, it holds new treasures, and it’s still revealing itself to me.” He continues, “This record includes sounds from radio telescopes around the world, solar winds, the radiation that comes from light and is turned into sound, weather conditions from hurricanes.”

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In addition to announcing his new project, RAMU, Mickey Hart also dropped two new tracks off RAMU via Pitchfork. The first is his collaboration with Animal Collective’s Avey Tare for a number called “Wayward Son”, while the second features his collaboration with Tarriona “Tank” Ball from Tank and the Bangas on a song called “Big Bad Wolf”. You can listen to the tunes on Pitchfork here.

Mickey Hart’s RAMU is currently available for pre-order on Pledge Music. The Grateful Dead drummer is also selling special one-of-a-kind memorabilia on the site ranging from signed drum heads to a portrait of Jerry by Jay Blakesberg to limited edition posters from Hart and fellow Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s string of shows with the Disco Biscuits. Pre-order Mickey Hart’s new album before it drops on November 10th and take a look at these special goodies on Pledge Music here. Plus, check out the tracklisting for RAMU below.

mickey hart RAMU

Mickey Hart’s RAMU Tracklisting

01 Auctioneers
02 Wayward Son
03 Big Bag Wolf
04 The Lost Coast
05 Who Do You Think You Are
06 You Remind Me
07 When the Morning Comes
08 Jerry
09 Wine Wine Wine
10 Nacare
11 Spreading the News
12 Infinite Space

[Photo: Jay Blakesberg]