Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Thievery Corporation 

Radio Retaliation (ESL)

Wednesday, Dec 31 2008

Electronic music is rarely thought of as being revolutionary from an ideological standpoint. Most artists in this genre push buttons and sliders, not political agendas. For every M.I.A., there are a hundred jokers with club-filling beats and little else. Washington, D.C.–based Thievery Corporation is a notable exception: Over the course of five studio albums, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have crept ever closer to mainstream ears with their seductive, subversive chillout grooves.

Thievery's latest, Radio Retaliation, is a commentary on the creativity-challenged state of the music industry. The 15-song effort makes obvious attempts at radical chicdom with propagandistic sloganeering (one song is actually called "The Shining Path," a reference to Peruvian Communist guerrillas), but more important is the disc's underlying theme: that music can connect far-flung parts of the globe. Using dub production techniques as a bonding agent, Thievery weaves a downtempo multiculti quilt incorporating Jamaican dancehall, Central and South American folk, Hindu trance, Brazilian funk, and neo-Afrobeat. Highlights include "Vampires," a diatribe against the International Monetary Fund, voiced by Femi Kuti; "El Pueblo Unido" – imagine a United Farm Workers rally set in a Juarez discoteca; "33 Degree" — a whispered backslash at secret society puppetmasters; and "La Femme Parallel," a beautiful, apolitical song with French vocals and shimmering gossamer textures. For lounge lizards who want to be shaken and stirred, Radio Retaliation makes a perfect soundtrack for Molotov cocktail hour.

About The Author

Eric K. Arnold


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"