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Cosmic Game
     

The Cosmic Game

4.6 6
by Thievery Corporation
 

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Protest music rarely goes down with the ease of a top-shelf martini. But leave it to Washington, D.C., duo Thievery Corporation to whip up a sonic cocktail that's equal parts conscience and style. Partners in crime Rob Garza and Eric Hilton take inspiration from deep record collections -- sampling Latin jazz and Bacharach pop to ska, dub, and sounds from the Middle

Overview

Protest music rarely goes down with the ease of a top-shelf martini. But leave it to Washington, D.C., duo Thievery Corporation to whip up a sonic cocktail that's equal parts conscience and style. Partners in crime Rob Garza and Eric Hilton take inspiration from deep record collections -- sampling Latin jazz and Bacharach pop to ska, dub, and sounds from the Middle and Far East -- and their youthful days on the progressive fringe of D.C.'s counterculture, listening to leaflet-toting bands like Fugazi. It all comes together on Thievery Corp's fourth album, The Cosmic Game, with a twist -- an appropriately global dose of psychedelia. Songs like "Warning Shots," featuring dancehall MC Sleepy Wonder and Indian singer Gunjan, and "Amerimacka," with Jamaican singer Notch, suggest the meditative side of ska, infusing popular Western sounds with island riddims and cries from the oppressed. There are also forays down south (the Latin-flavored "Sol Tapado," featuring Cape Verdean singer Patrick de Santos) and out east (the sitar-infused "Doors of Perception," again featuring Gunjan). But this disc leans more heavily on rock sounds than its predecessors, with guest shots from the Flaming Lips (on the woozy "Marching the Hate Machines into the Sun," which evokes Zero 7), Perry Farrell (the spacey "Revolution Solution"), and David Byrne (the more up-tempo "The Heart's a Lonely Hunter"), broadening the mind in more ways than one. They may have been the unwitting progenitors of down-tempo dance music, but Garza and Hilton's brainy spin on lounge proves they're interested in more than velvet-rope fabulousness. This cabal aims to push boundaries, both musical and otherwise.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - David Jeffries
The ingredients -- electronic beats, dub, soft Brazilian tones, sitars, and women singing in foreign languages -- are entirely the same, but Thievery Corporation have never sounded so genuine. Despite the same old sound and a busy release schedule leading up to it, The Cosmic Game comes across as fresh as a debut and surprisingly indifferent toward being the in thing. What it is is music for music's sake, all laid out with the utmost care, giving listeners a fully thought-out album that makes the "forward" button on your CD player purposeless. Effortlessly flowing from the indie-grooving "Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)" with the Flaming Lips to reggae to samba to psychedelia and beyond, the album is trimmed of all fat. Instrumentals with clever grooves sometimes overstayed their welcome on previous Thievery albums, but here they're whittled down to interludes when need be and positioned as chillout segues between the more striking numbers. The druggy, Perry Farrell-inna-reggae-style "Revolution Solution" is one of these stunners, but the superstars don't own all the highlights. As dank, Jamaican-flavored horns echo into the distance, siren Sista Pat lures listeners into the deep world of "Wires and Watchtowers" while soulful crooner Notch takes things uptown on the cool "Amerimacka" before the Corp turn the tune into one of their stickiest dub outings yet. The pleasant "The Heart's a Lonely Hunter" deserves mention because David Byrne guests on vocals, and while it's very good, it's the most forgettable number on this outing. The track brings a very slight reminder of when Thievery Corporation have let ambition trump the meaningful and meaty, but the otherwise purposeful and certain Cosmic Game is so darkly delicious you have to admit it's their masterwork.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2005
Label:
Eighteenth Street
UPC:
0795103008120
catalogNumber:
81
Rank:
16652

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Thievery Corporation   Primary Artist
David Byrne   Vocals
Flaming Lips   Guitar,Vocals
Perry Farrell   Vocals
Eric Hilton   Various,electronics
John Nelson   Percussion
Frank Orrall   Percussion,Tabla,Vocals
Rick Harris   Horn
Robertito "La Guira" Santos   Percussion,Berimbau
Rob Garza   Various,electronics
Sleepy Wonder   Vocals
Bryan Mills   Horn
Gunjan   Vocals
Loulou Djine   Vocals
Notch   Vocals
Patrick DeSantos   Vocals,Track Performer
Jim McFalls   Horn
Arjuna Pashwami   Sitar
Gigi Rezende   Vocals
Sista Pat   Vocals
Verny Varela   Vocals
Brad Clements   Horn
Gigi Rezende   Vocals

Technical Credits

Flaming Lips   Orchestration
Eric Hilton   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Michael Ivins   Composer
Rob Garza   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Neal Ashby   Photo Illustration
John J. Moore   Photo Illustration
Chris "Stone" Garrett   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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The Cosmic Game 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is awesome. A beautiful mix of jazz, lounge, and indian music. It's a great cd to listen in the car while driving around or if you just want to relax in the house.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Last we left TC, their "Outernational Sound" had fallen flat due to a cheapness both in sound design and pacing; 2-minute tracks are not mood setters. "Cosmic Game" steers back in the right groove, with not one flat note. Some short, non-vocal tracks are used, but they're perfect as transitions into the vibrant longer atmospheres within every one of the other tracks. Ahhhh. This is their new best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have every complilation from TC and 5 stars go to the Cosmic Game. Pay homage to the eclectic and ambient vibe of the social chill sound that makes a setting mood-enthralled. From NY, to SF, and now in LA, this Corporation has got the right mix of sultry metropolitan sound.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i don't ever write reviews. this album is quality. press play and let it go...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago