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2 Mar 2017

Thievery Corporation “The Temple of I & I” 2017 February 8 new album US electronic reggae Hip Hop




Thievery Corporation “The Temple of I & I” 2017 February 8 new album US electronic reggae Hip Hop
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The 10th full-length release for the Washington D.C. electronic duo features guest appearances from Lou Lou Ghelichkhani, Shana Halligan, Raquel Jones, Mr. Lif, Elin Melgarejo, Notch, Puma, and Zee.....

Alas, The Temple of I & I, does not hit the high benchmarks of prior quality. Very much a Thievery album in its own right, with the tropical rhythms alongside the DC-based musicians approach to studio-dub, the LP falls short of the classic peak moments of the past................

Generally, The Temple of I & I is another satisfying Thievery Corporation affair........

Thievery Corporation continue making music style mixes elements of dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern, hip hop, electronica and Brazilian, including bossa nova.............

They've had no commercial radio hits, no high-end, big-budget videos, no major-label backing. Yet for over 20 years, Thievery Corporation (Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) have managed to continuously pull in a fan base, own and operate their own label, routinely headline major festivals and release album after album, selling millions in the process. Thievery's eclectic and diverse catalogue is exactly why they have an unwavering following; their range can and does appeal to just about everyone.

As the majority of their releases attest, Thievery Corporation have been heavily influenced by Jamaican music, and their latest release, The Temple of I & I, is no exception. Settling in Port Antonio, Jamaica in early 2015, Garza and Hilton set to work laying the foundation for this LP, using the sounds of the island as influence for their brand of lounge-y downtempo (a style they've incorporated elements of reggae, bossa nova, jazz and Middle Eastern music into over the years). Newcomer Racquel Jones found her way onto the album after encountering the duo on their first trip to Port Antonio, her forward delivery helping push the album's political undercurrent on tracks like "Letter to the Editor" and reggae-punched "Road Block."

The rest is standard, welcome fare from Thievery, like the wah pedal and prominent brass throughout "Strike the Root" and "True Sons of Zion," though hazy, instrumental tracks like "Let the Chalice Blaze" and "The Temple of I and I" are a little on the forgettable side. Thankfully, the latter seems to be the exception rather than the rule; generally, The Temple of I & I is another satisfying Thievery Corporation affair. (ESL).................

RRecorded during a residency in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Thievery Corporation's The Temple of I and I is perhaps the group's most focused effort to date—which also makes it their least adventurous. Throughout the album, the band digs deeply into reggae vibes and dancehall rhythms, and brings in local players and lyricists to forge an atmosphere of authenticity. If their previous sonic travelogues had the light and sterile touch of a brief sightseeing jaunt, this one attempts to leave a footprint. 

Not quite a tourism ad for Jamaica nor the end result of a commissioning of native art, the album nevertheless exhibits the problematic eavesdropping of both, and relies just as readily on the easy touchpoints of traditionally black music that American and European pop artists have often appropriated. Typically only interested in a musical style to the extent that they can upcycle it into loungey bliss, Thievery Corporation proves less capable here at truly understanding and reimagining a region of sound. 

The Temple of I and I adds plodding horn charts, woodblock counter-rhythms, slow-rolling guitar scratches, and spacey bass lines to the group's usual downtempo cues. Any sense of grit or hustle routes exclusively through its guest artists, whose themes of anguish and alienation are undercut by Thievery Corporation's overwhelming commitment to nonchalant production, and a sound more akin to that of Snoop Lion than Lee “Scratch” Perry. 

The Temple of I and I is Thievery Corporation's most focused effort to date—which also makes it their least adventurous. 

The album often blurs the subtleties across different forms of Jamaican music and expression into a tempered, detached sound. “Ghetto Matrix” is a stirring commentary on mass incarceration (American hip-hop artist Mr. Lif raps about “a complex plan that keeps us confined”), yet bubbly percussion and an especially buoyant chorus prevents the track from transcending easy-listening terrain; the same is true of “Fight to Survive,” where Mr. Lif's call to arms is clumsily paired with a ska-lite beat. Only a few songs—the feisty dub workout “Letter to the Editor” and the sunny “Drop Your Guns”—truly work as negotiations between found sounds and studio sheen. 

Unsurprisingly, The Temple of I and I is at its least inoffensive—“Time and Space,” the ensuing “Love Has No Heart” (which suggests Portishead on mild uppers), and “Lose to Find”—when it sees Thievery Corporation indulging in their trademark smoky-afterhours sound. Each of these songs feature woozy female vocals, nimble bass, and keyboard and jazz guitar that might smolder off a Quincy Jones production—though not much in the way of Jamaican influences. But following this stretch of anonymous exercises in ambience, the group haphazardly reprises their toying with Caribbean musical sounds. 

The album is at least a sensible experiment for Thievery Corporation, who've always crossbred dub undertones with their various musical detours. But the history and ancestry of Jamaican music goes beyond the conga and calypso fills heard here, and is more sophisticated than synth hiccups approximating puffs of smoke. Too sleek to be real, The Temple of I and I sounds less like Jamaica than the music on the Virgin flight you might hear on the way there.....BY JONATHAN WROBLE...............

Thievery Corporation are a well-known trip-hop duo from Washington DC that have been at it for more than 20 years now. The duo have announced a new album called “Temple of I & I”. It will follow 2014’s ‘Saudade”. The album was recorded entirely in Port Antonio, Jamaica. The band tracked up to 12 hours per day, drawing from local influences to accentuate their Latin sound. Ahead of the album, Thievery Corporation have released two singles leading up to the album: “Let the Chalice Blaze” and “Letter to the Editor”. There will be a surplus of guest appearances on the album too. The album will be out February 10th through ESL Music.

Infused with the culture and rhythm of Jamaica, The Temple of I & I is an extension of the dub ethos and aesthetic that they’ve harboured since their debut EP Sounds from Thievery Hi-Fi, except this time, they dove headfirst into the rich and warm musical environs of Port Antonio, Jamaica and surrounded themselves with the island’s magic. Kicking off in February 2015, Hilton, Rob Garza and their DC-based live rhythm section settled into the deep part of Jamaica – Port Antonio – and began recording in Geejam Studios. “People couldn’t believe Robbie Myers, our guitarist, wasn’t Jamaican,” laughs Hilton. “I think they’re used to people coming down from London or LA to record rock and pop records, and they were thrilled that we had such a handle on their sound. It felt like the respect was mutual. It was beyond gratifying. High Grade ganja and bottles of Appleton rum started to show up on the reg.”

Rife with inspired sounds of the island, The Temple of I & I kicks off with “Thief Rockers”, easing the listener into a reverb-heavy tropical sway that introduces Kingston-newcomer, vocalist Racquel Jones. “I met her on my first trip to Port Antonio and she played some demos at Geejam. She had actually used Thievery Corporation as her demo backing track, and it was a perfect match when I heard it. We’ve been waiting years to find a conscious, brilliant, female Jamaican singer and MC. As a model and former Miss Jamaica contestant, you’d never expect the pure lyrical fire and tough delivery could come out of her. It’s impressive,” explains Hilton...........

Tracklist
1 Thief Rockers
2 Letter To The Editor
3 Strike The Root
4 Ghetto Matrix
5 True Sons Of Zion
6 The Temple Of I & I
7 Time + Space
8 Love Has No Heart
9 Lose To Find
10 Let The Chalice Blaze
11 Weapons Of Distraction
12 Road Block
13 Fight To Survive
14 Babylon Falling
15 Drop Your Guns




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