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Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi

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Album Review

Rare-groove duo Thievery Corporation may fall under the general classification of electronica, but their album Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi, like much of their music, is such a confluence of subgenres that techno fans might not find what they're looking for in it. This record is electronic in that nearly everything heard on it has been tweaked in the studio, but almost all of the actual synth sounds on Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi lie in the background. What carry each song are recordings of actual instruments, either live or sampled, mixed to create the arc of the specific track. Add a smattering of vocal samples, and the result is the love-child of Massive Attack and Mondo Grosso, a trip-hoppy, acid jazz mutant that will make you want to dance, have sex, or lounge by the pool (if you're not left walking in confused circles, trying to figure out which one). That seems to be the CD's only real weakness: the seams that bind the various influences involved in the music can be a bit ragged, leading to some songs that come off as awkward, rather than eclectic. The amalgamations throughout most of the disc are quite effective, however. The track "Scene at the Open Air Market," for instance, sounds like the melody is played on a xylophone, before switching to perhaps an accordion, eventually coming to sound like a mixture of lounge music, rhumba, and Eastern European folk — but sexy. The samples of a man yelling reggae-style shout-outs during "2001 Spliff Odyssey," however, are mostly just distracting from the ultra-smooth groove, and can feel like interruptions. In the end, assuming that almost everyone who picks up Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi is a fan of trip-hop, acid jazz, club/dance, or electronica, then it is essentially a record for everybody. Its only real fault is that occasionally, it edges on being a record for nobody.

Customer Reviews

So Cool

It is my belief that listening to Thievery Corporation will make you an all around more intelligent, and creative person. This music appeals to the intellectual and is perfect for writing or painting. Since buying and listening to this incredible music I've pianted my room and written some short stories! Standout track= Shaolin Sattelite.

ESL - Cool Place in Cold City

The Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) and the music of Rob and Eric made my 4 1/2 year stint in Washington, DC bearable. Thanks Ali and ESL. Hearing this collection, I can almost taste the ginger and bourban. Even though I don't drink anymore - the smooth groove still calms my soul. Mods live!!!

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio
Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi, Thievery Corporation
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