Thievery Corporation emerges as a strong, independent voice of dissent 

Last year's Radio Retaliation pushed the boundaries of electronic music

The current global economic climate serves as the perfect backdrop to Thievery Corporation's evolution from a DJ/production outfit into a world-music collective with a loud voice of dissent, capped by the release of last year’s Radio Retaliation.

“Vampires,” the group's collaboration with Afrobeat singer and band leader Femi Kuti, is a metaphorical indictment of the bête noire of international activists, the International Monetary Fund. “You live on the blood of my people/Everyone knows you’ve come to steal/You come like the thieves in the night/The whole world is ready to fight.”

The rest of the album furthers Thievery Corporation's affinity for world musicians, continuing what has become its signature production style of incorporating non-Western instruments and composing in distinct, non-Western harmonies, laced over head-nodding, boom-bap beats.

As a whole, Radio Retaliation delivers a powerful call for fierce independence in its own right. An image of Marcos, the leader of the indigenous Zapatista movement from Mexico, graces the cover, and once again, the duo invites a multilingual cast of artists to sing lead on several tracks, skirting English as the main language of their message. More importantly, however, all five of the full-length albums, along with a dozen EPs and singles (including the first two 12-inches released in 1996) have been published under their own label ESL Music.

“Apart from a few independent bastions, there is no musical or informational freedom on the U.S. airwaves anymore. They’ve been bought up, consolidated and homogenized,” TC’s Eric Hilton told Rolling Stone in September of last year. “Music is suffering and Radio Retaliation is about an exodus of conscious people who are willing to acknowledge something is wrong.”


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