Culture of Fear by Thievery Corporation on Apple Music

13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Thievery Corporation have always faced a bit of a quandary when it comes to reconciling their music and their message. While their lyrics and song titles often imply a fairly radical critique of Western power structures, their dreamy, seamlessly produced fusion of trip-hop and world beat would provide a far more convincing soundtrack for a mid-afternoon daydream than a revolution. Despite this apparent disjunction this Washington D.C.- based duo have nonetheless managed to produce a string of albums that can only be applauded for their effortless evocations of dub, boss nova, tropicalia and a myriad of other styles. Culture of Fear marks a happy return to the more placid waters of classic Thievery Corporation albums like The Mirror Conspiracy and Richest Man In Babylon. The album’s strongest moments occur when guests arrive to give some focus to its indisputably lovely, but sometimes meandering productions, as when Boston bred underground rapper Mr. Lif enlivens the title track with some incisive verses on mass media and surveillance culture.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Thievery Corporation have always faced a bit of a quandary when it comes to reconciling their music and their message. While their lyrics and song titles often imply a fairly radical critique of Western power structures, their dreamy, seamlessly produced fusion of trip-hop and world beat would provide a far more convincing soundtrack for a mid-afternoon daydream than a revolution. Despite this apparent disjunction this Washington D.C.- based duo have nonetheless managed to produce a string of albums that can only be applauded for their effortless evocations of dub, boss nova, tropicalia and a myriad of other styles. Culture of Fear marks a happy return to the more placid waters of classic Thievery Corporation albums like The Mirror Conspiracy and Richest Man In Babylon. The album’s strongest moments occur when guests arrive to give some focus to its indisputably lovely, but sometimes meandering productions, as when Boston bred underground rapper Mr. Lif enlivens the title track with some incisive verses on mass media and surveillance culture.

TITLE TIME
4:32
3:12
3:51
3:01
3:44
3:21
7:48
3:22
3:04
1:43
4:10
3:40
4:02

About Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation make abstract, instrumental, midtempo dance music whose classification falls somewhere between trip-hop and acid jazz. Featuring the production skills of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation released several warmly received singles on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label (named after their own Washington, D.C. bar and nightclub) in 1996. Although previously known primarily among acid jazz and rare-groove DJs, the group shot to minor celebrity when a track from one of their early 12"s appeared on respected DJ/producers Kruder & Dorfmeister's mix session for Studio K7's DJ Kicks series. Similar in many respects to that Viennese production duo, Thievery Corporation subsequently grew in popularity among a wider audience of DJs and headphonauts.

The duo's debut LP, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi, appeared in 1997, along with a compilation of Washington, D.C.-based electronica artists entitled Dubbed Out in DC (both albums were released by ESL). After signing with the British label 4AD, Thievery Corporation began to work on their second LP but were forced to postpone its release date after tapes were stolen in a mugging. The stopgap remix compilation Abductions & Reconstructions was released in 1999, and their second proper album, The Mirror Conspiracy, followed one year later. The duo's growing fame made them a natural choice to select tracks for the 2001 Verve compilation Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi.

They returned to their own work in 2002 with The Richest Man in Babylon, and the mix album Outernational Sound and remix EP Babylon Rewound both appeared in 2004. That same year, the track "Lebanese Blonde" was featured in the highly successful Garden State soundtrack, which later won a Grammy Award. Released in 2005, The Cosmic Game featured guest vocalists Perry Farrell, the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, and David Byrne, and the remix compilation Versions followed in 2006. As election season approached, Thievery Corporation released the politically minded studio effort Radio Retaliation in September 2008. Featuring a guest appearance from Mr. Lif, Culture of Fear arrived in 2011 and mixed social commentary with dub tracks. Their 2014 release, Saudade, turned their music in a different direction, being a bossa nova-based effort with guest vocalists like LouLou Ghelichkhani, Karina Zeviani, and Elin Melgarejo. For their eighth studio album, 2017's Temple of I & I, the duo temporarily relocated to Jamaica, where they could fully channel their dub/reggae influences into the recording process. ~ Sean Cooper

  • ORIGIN
    Washington, D.C.
  • FORMED
    1996

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