Release Date: Jun 27, 2011
Record label: ESL Music
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
In recent interviews supporting Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life, frontman Damian Abraham has said that now that the band have released their big rock opera concept album, there’s no going back. And that truth goes for tons of other bands: Once they make that giant record that strives to change the world around them, through action or mere observation, there’s no returning to making love songs or club hits. A band facing that truth is the Washington, D.C.
When Eric Hilton and Rob Garza came together to form Thievery Corporation in 1995, the two Washington D.C.-based musicians and DJs were breaking new ground. Taking inspiration from British trip-hop artists like Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead, Thievery Corporation successfully combined downtempo electronica grooves with reggae and R&B sounds to create songs that were both musically challenging and great to dance to. In addition, more than any other band since U2, Hilton and Garza have always written lyrics that reflected the duo’s radical politics while still maintaining a groove that makes their missives palatable.
Despite its pointed title, Culture of Fear is not quite as politically minded as Thievery Corporation's previous studio album. While dubwise tracks such as “Overstand” and “False Flag Dub,” along with the Mr. Lif feature “Culture of Fear,” continue the themes of 2008’s Radio Retaliation, a higher number of cuts -- including “Take My Soul,” “Where It All Starts,” “Is It Over?,” and “Safar (The Journey)” -- feature the duo’s heavy-lidded grooves with seductive female vocals.
David Cope, a professor at the University Of California, Santa Cruz, has been experimenting with “algorithmic computer music” and “musical intelligence” in order to program a computer to compose its own music. It only makes sense that the main men behind Thievery Corporation, D.C. natives Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, would cite Cope as a shared interest: Not only does Cope explore the possibilities and boundaries of music, he works at a university nestled in a hippie/beach bum town an hour south of San Francisco with a penchant for protests (many of them naked), beards, drum circles and its comically huge pot smoking celebration every year on April 20.