Beats Antique – Elektraphone

January 01, 1970

(Antique
Records)

 

www.beatsantique.com

 

Beats
Antique kick up quite a bit of both earth-bound and cosmic dust on their fourth
full length album, Elektraphone. Over ten instrumental tracks the
‘experimental world fusion and electronic music trio’ lay out a blueprint for
what much music is likely to sound like in the future (as well as the present,
obviously), as the world’s cultures increasingly cross pollinate, and the speed
and evolution of technology hurries everything along towards more crossover,
more collaboration and more cultural assimilation and experimentation. 

 

‘World
Music’ has evolved dramatically since its inception
as a genre of frequently mediocre, watered down global music that was aimed
straight at the pony-tail and Birkenstock crowd. The sophistication,
technological know-how, bold beats and open-ended experimentation of Beats
Antiques and numerous other forward looking acts is a stark contrast to the New
Agey, bland school of world music lite. Borrowing without appropriating, and
giving a jittery electronic goose to some of the indigenous musics of the
world, Beats Antique are in the vanguard of global groove music.

 

Winging
in from the fertile Bay Area experimental music scene, Beats Antiques are David
Satori, Sidecar Tommy and Zoe Jakes. All three of are listed as programmers,
composers and keyboard and drums players, as well as the album’s producers,
arrangers and engineers. Satori also plays guitar, violin, viola, banjo and
percussion; Sidecar Tommy, bass and percussion; and Zoe Jakes is a belly dancer
of international renown. Numerous musicians drop in and out of various songs,
and The Glitch Mob produce the final track, “We Swarm,” all adding to the stew,
none of it diluting or altering the fundamental sound or approach in the
slightest. 

 

Beats
Antique have a great sense of dynamics that makes each song a little,
mini-journey into a parallel universe where all the musics of the world fuse
into a rich, beat-happy tapestry. The key signature of all the tracks on Elektraphone is a glitchy, stuttering electro beat that everything else spins around and off
of. Starting with the air-raid siren, tamped-down horns, vaguely Greek melody
line and stop and start beats of “Cat Skillz,” they set the bar high and
maintain their cool to the end. “The Porch” sounds like the band wandered into
an alleyway somewhere in North Africa just as
Morphine showed up for a jam session w/the locals.  “Alto” has
scratchy,  creaky-door sounds over a side-ways beat, and “Skytalk” mixes
bleeping, glitchy beats and vaguely middle eastern strings to great effect.
“Swagger” uses a Gypsy/Balkan song structure as a jumping off point, while
“Alleyway” brings dub technology front and center. The Glitch Mob produced “We
Swarm” goes with the flow, perhaps with a slightly more dancey groove, but not
really much that sets it apart from the rest.

 

This
is pretty thrilling stuff, rich, complex and beautifully conceived and played.
For Beats Antique, the future is now.

 

DOWNLOAD: Take your pick; this is
10 out of 10. CARL HANNI

 

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