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Thievery Corporation | Image Courtesy of Reybee Inc. Used With Permission.
Thievery Corporation | Image Courtesy of Reybee Inc. Used With Permission.

The first time I heard about Thievery Corporation, I was 16, attending Centreville High School in Virginia, and my classmate and video production friend, Jack McKain told me about them. We were on the subject of music, and somewhere along the conversation I had told him that I was really into this new Buddha Bar album that I had received from my sister. He suggested I listen to his good friends, Thievery Corporation, and now at age 24, I’ve been listening to their music for close to ten years.

The Washington D.C. natives, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, (aka Thievery Corporation), have been creating music together for over 20 years, and have been a major influence on electronic music and culture; and they’ve done it all on their own, without major label backing. They are true artists to the core, and have achieved great success in marching to the beat of their own BPM.

My buddy Jack was right to recommend their music to me all those years ago. After delving deep into their albums “Radio Relation” and “The Richest Man In Babylon, In essence, their sound is very similar to that of the Buddha Bar albums by incorporating French lyrics and soft, silky female vocals on some of their tracks, but often with a more reggae vibe. Their new album, “The Temple of I and I” stays true to their musical roots, starting and ending with tracks that incorporate a more reggae sound, using male and female vocals to sing Patois. The middle of the album brings back those lovely French nuances in their tracks that I had previously mentioned.

Thievery Corporation's "Temple Of I & I" | Album Cover | Image Courtesy of Reybee Inc. Used With Permission.
Thievery Corporation’s “Temple Of I & I” | Album Cover | Image Courtesy of Reybee Inc. Used With Permission.

Although I don’t partake in anything 420 related, I believe their music, old and new, are perfect for such recreational activities, chilling out with your best friends on the patio, attending said Buddha Bar in Paris, or (personally), listening to them post-surfing session on the beach with a cold beer in hand. But for the sake of exercising the creative side of my brain, I thought I might imagine what it would be like to light one up and press play….

I imagine that it replicates someone’s journey or rolling and smoking a joint as the entire album plays out. You press play and begin the process of breaking up the weed during the first song. At track 2, “Letter To the Editor”, you feel the anticipation of a good time as an upbeat female raps “I’m a fighter” and you lick the rolling paper adhesive to seal up you creation. As you drawn your first puff from the joint, its effects start to take hold of your senses on track no. 3, “Strike The Roots”.

You fall into your happy place of puffing, and hopefully passing, the joint as you fall into the more down beat reggae voices that put you into a blissful trance. Right when the you’ve reached your medically induced moment of zen, the zen of the album with its female vocals, reverb, a little bit of guitar, and French lyrics at track 7 “Time and Space”, offers you the perfect soundtrack for the moment. Between this track all the way to track 10, you’ll being to take note of the music’s message as it becomes more poetic and philosophical, but in their track titles and lyrics, including “Love Has No Heart”. At this point, your joint is no longer, and you’re just enjoying the cool down, staying relaxed and enjoying the present moment.

The album then shifts again at track 10 with “Let The Chalice Blaze”, an almost purely instrumental track revolving entirely around the electronic sounds that Thievery Corporation has crafted. It almost serves as a melodic refrain, giving the listener the opportunity to reflect upon those auditory experiences from moments ago.

The album comes full circle at track 11, “Weapons of Distraction” until the last track, no. 15 “Drop Your Guns”. These tracks incorporate down tempo male vocals singing Patois again. Here is where I imagine you rolling up and lighting the second joint..

Growing up in D.C., I’m very familiar with the 9:30 Club. Thievery Corporation got their start by selling out 5 consecutive shows at that venue, and twenty years later, it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come, and inspiring that they’re still making such incredible music. I’ve always thought that Thievery Corporation’s music was timeless, and their new album is yet another feather in their already established cap.

Thievery Corporation will be starting the European leg of their tour in February, but if you want to catch them in the states, they’ll be back near their old stomping ground performing in D.C. at the Kennedy Center on May 15th. Hopefully, they’ll be adding more stops to fill out the rest of the year.

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