In an interview with Guitar Magazine back in March of 2000, the title track to the Two Against Nature album came up, resulting in this interchange:
Guitar.com: On the track “Two Against Nature,” is that played bass or sampled bass?Walter Becker: No, that is a bass synth that is being triggered by a sequence. That is the only track where we actually used a sequence for anything.Guitar.com: Did you use all the machine elements in that track to confer a play on words?Walter Becker: Partially. We had a percussion sequence that we liked. There was something good about it, something a little hokey about it, something sort of like Hollywood session players. There used to be an album I loved called Daktari. It was all this African-sounding stuff played by Hollywood session players. And it was a great take on African music because it sounded vaguely African but there was nothing truly African about any of it. I always liked that kind of African music a lot. And so the original sequence that we had was in that vein.
We've recently heard some of that African music influence on the track Danger Zone, composed and recorded in 1993, well before Two Against Nature. Danger Zone having been passed over for inclusion on 11 Tracks of Whack, Walter revisited those interesting rhythmic elements and musical textures in the composing sessions would ultimately yield "The New One's" title track.In addition to the drive of the bass here, I particularly enjoy Walter's rhythmic guitar embelishments, especially how he plays around Donald's vocal on the first chorus and then lays out of the second chorus before coming in with his solo, which then comps the bass part while the saxophone solos.Also on this track are:Drums: Keith Carlock Timbales/percussion: Daniel Sadownick Percussion: Gordon Gottlieb Bass clarinet: Roger RosenbergSaxophone: Dave Tofani Saxophone: Lawrence Feldman**Special thanks to the Steely Dan Reader for the vast compilations of interviews in a searchable format, including the Guitar Magazine interview available here. And to the webdrone for keeping the grand days of Steely Dan's online kingdom alive at the Steely Dan Archive.**