Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The intersection of Chillout and World Music from Thievery Corporation

If you’ve read many posts from me, by now you know I listen to a fair amount from that whole cloud of music categorized in Electronica, Chillout, Ambient, Trip Hop, House, etc. You also know I like World Music. A few years ago I found a great album compiled by Thievery Corporation that pulls together a bunch of artists playing at the intersection of these styles. The Outernational Sound has some international artists using Western production and influences, some Western artists incorporating elements from other styles, and there’s even a remix or two by TC themselves.

Professional listeners. Gotta love 'em.

Professional listeners. Gotta love 'em.

Thievery Corporation has been around since 1995 and they’ve had quite a bit of success releasing their own music. The Mirror Conspiracy (2000) and The Richest Man in Babylon (2002) are great albums that were written up in Rolling Stone, saw Billboard’s Electronic Albums chart, and have had tracks pulled into movie soundtracks. This one, however, is a collection of some of their favorite music by other artists.

These guys are serious listeners too and they introduce us to some deep cuts from guys you and I would never find. The album’s greatest weakness to me is I’m not sure the whole thing flows. They packed 20 songs from a bunch of different styles and the transitions aren’t always smooth. That doesn’t matter to me, though, because I  ripped 16 of the tracks to my iPod where they get randomized into my Chillout mix anyway.

I was going to tell you to give these a listen and cherry pick the ones that hit you. Then I found that the individual tracks aren’t available. You can pick up the whole disc (and why not, since 16 of 20 is a great ratio of good songs) or I’m sure the resourceful reader can find individual tracks somehow.

  • Vai Vai – Thunderball
    African vocals and horns spice up some organ and electronic drums.
  • Chez Roger Boite Funk – Troublemakers
    This is great background music. Which I don’t mean as an insult to the artist. You might not notice it playing, but it sets a good mood.
  • 3 Play It Cool – Crazy Penis
    A cool groove with a nice sax riff. There is some Barry White-esque pillow talk vocals in this that are a little cheesy, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a crazy penis.
  • Slow Hot Wind – Block 16
    The beat from 3 Play It Cool continues but the vocals change and there is no sax. Still a nice groove.
  • Under My Sensi [Thievery Corporation Remix] – Boozoo Bajou
    Spacey guitar and dreamy keyboards with a solid beat. Not much happens, but again great background music.
  • Lagos Communiqué – Thievery Corporation
    This is one of the cooler songs on this disc. I’m not sure what they’re sampling, but it blends African chanting, sitar, and horns. Here’s the whole track.
  • Sea Groove – Big Boss Man
    Funky bass and a danceable beat back up some Carlos Santana sounding guitar.
  • Cookin’ [Version] – Beat fanatic
    This is my favorite track. The horn samples are used well and the vocals are tight, all with a latin feel. Here’s the whole thing.
  • Cramp Your Style – Breakestra
    Rather than being just a long groove, this one is an actual song. A funky, funky song.
  • Simbarere – Antônio Carlos & Jocafi
    I’m hearing the Jocafi in this (Africa) but the Antonio Carlos (Latin) not so much. A high-energy, danceable track.
  • Re-Return of the Original Artform – Major Force
    This is full on DJ blending. Multiple spoken word samples, shifting percussion style, though the beat remains fixed. A little of this stuff goes a long way, but they’ve only given us this 3 minutes of it.
  • Mathar [Discovery of India Mix] – Indian Vibes
    Wait a minute. Rock ‘n Roll sitar and backwards tracked guitar… Someone is channeling George Harrison.
  • Expo In Tokyo – Alan Moorhouse
    Cookin’ is my favorite, but this is a close second. They turn the stereotypical Chinese riff (you’ll just have to listen to it to hear the one I mean) into this jazzy head shaker. Love this track.
  • My French Borther – Bobby Hughes Experience
    This is a case of great sequencing, as it follows Expo perfectly. Flute samples, Doors-esque keyboards, and a female vocalist make this entirely smooth. Here is a link to the whole song on YouTube.  Sorry about the tool in the video. I’m guessing the 52nd thing in his room is an inflatable doll. At least he has good taste in music.
  • Richest Man in Babylon [G-Corp Remix] – Thievery Corporation
    Here they take another stab at the title track to their 2002 release. The original is better, but this is still very good.
  • Better Must Come – Delroy Wilson
    True Reggae. Great vocal performance.

The guys from TC are very politically active, which is often obnoxious. However, since I happen to agree with their politics, these are the coolest guys ever. Check out their website.


April 13, 2009 - Posted by | Chillout, Electronica, reggae, World Music


  1. These guys helped get me to Italy. Perfect soundtrack for the cross-Atlantic night flight.

    Comment by Jenifer | April 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. Why aren’t they at Bonnaroo? They are doing every other stinking music fest.

    Comment by susie | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. If you like Thievery Corp., you might like these guys as well:

    Nortec Collective: An amazing new art movement out of Tijuana.

    Comment by creepyB | April 21, 2009 | Reply

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