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July 13, 2024

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Thievery Corporation
Richest Man In Babylon (ESL)

By: Holden Odietamo

Electronica is such a cold word. It brings to mind harsh landscapes, nuclear winters, the occasional ecstasy binge. Electronic music usually takes one of those forms, for better or worse. One musical duo, who has been slapped with that label, is Washington D.C.'s Thievery Corporation. But that label is far from true for this band. Eric Hilton and Rob Garza serve as ambassadors to the music from all over the world. Their most recent album, 2002's Richest Man In Babylon, is an eclectic mix of different forms of jazz, and worldly influences from Brazil to the Middle East to the Caribbean, which works extremely well. The music is never harsh, never cold, and never as inorganic as much electronic music gets. In fact, this album is very organic, with more music coming from the standard instruments of most jazz or rock bands then the turntables of a DJ. But whether it is a turntable, trumpet, jazzy guitar riff, or a hypnotic voice singing in Farsi, the music never depresses or overwhelms the listener with joy; instead it finds a comfortable niche of contentment, somewhere between the two. More late summer evening on the beach, then rave, the album is an unpredictable journey through the music of exotic lands, deserted islands, and jungles of foreign places that we can only dream of.
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