Published Apr 02, 2020In 2017, Eric Hilton and Rob Garza — Thievery Corporation's founding members — performed alongside a 22-piece orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in what would become immortalized as a historic concert for the band. In association with Mason Bates' "KC Jukebox," the show reimagined fan favourites and live show staples with orchestral arrangements from leading young classical composers. The result was something that breathed new life into Thievery Corporation's extensive catalogue, infusing both the classical and orchestral into Hilton and Garza's well-worn bossa nova, dub reggae, Middle Eastern and Indian influences, as well as jazz and electronica beats.
As a tribute to this performance, Thievery Corporation teamed up with Prague's highly coveted FILMharmonic Orchestra (who have recorded with artists like Céline Dion and Arcade Fire) to produce Symphonik. The album delivers a superb rendering of 11 beloved tracks, which include classics such as "Lebanese Blonde" and "Until the Morning."
Like many commemorative albums, Symphonik provides an opportunity to reflect on Hilton and Garza's longstanding success and staying power. Thievery Corporation greatly helped to set the tone among chillout and downtempo acts in the late '90s and early 2000s. Their fluid and amorphous style was — and remains — unique, seamlessly oscillating between genres, instruments, vocals and styles. Heavily influenced by music from around the world, Thievery Corporation are known for their diverse recordings, which have included songs sung in Hindi, Portuguese, French and more, as well as experimentation with different instruments, like the sitar.
Having amassed an impressive discography and entering their fourth decade as veteran producers, Thievery Corporation continue to unearth newfound inspiration for making electronic music. Symphonik is beautiful and deserving of our attention. (ESL)