with Brazilian Girls
Thu Dec 12
with Brazilian Girls
|Age:||Ages 21+ Only|
The traditionally electronic music duo has developed a warmer sound further influenced by funk, reggae, jazz, trip-hop and Latin music!Sold Out
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Genre: dub / electonica Ticket Price: $79 advanced / $84 day of show / $139 reserved loft seating (loft seating is available over the phone or in person at our box office)
When they met in the mid-1990s, Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton and Rob Garza instantly bonded over their shared passion for bossa nova. Dedicating their 1996 debut 'Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi' to bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Washington, D.C.-based duo have spent nearly two decades creating boundary-warping, complexly crafted electronic music partly inspired by bossa nova's intricate rhythms and lush textures. Now, with their seventh studio album 'Saudade,' Thievery Corporation present their first release devoted entirely to the Brazilian-born genre that first connected them. "We always try to progress into something different and stretch our musical chops, and taking a whole album to dive into this one sound seemed like a really great way to do that," says Hilton. Adds Garza: "It's a bit of a departure for us, but at the same time these are our roots, this is what brought us together. It's us coming full circle from electronic music back to something organic before we move on to our next chapter."
Released on their own label ESL Music, 'Saudade' borrows its title from a Portuguese word meaning "a longing for something or someone that is lost, a contented melancholy, or, simply, the presence of absence." "Saudade is the essence or feeling of true bossa nova," explains Hilton, who names "those warm, soulful, melancholic vocals" as one of the elements of bossa nova that's most alluring to him. Drawing influence from classic Brazilian performers like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gal Costa, and Luis Bonfa, along with Serge Gainsbourg, Ennio Morricone, and more modern artists like electro-samba pioneer Isabelle Antena.Saudade achieves its delicate yet deeply sensuous sound with the help of more than a dozen guest musicians. With each track sung by one of five female vocalists (including longtime Thievery cohort LouLou Ghelichkhani, newcomer Elin Melgarejo, Nouvelle Vague singer Karina Zeviani, Argentine chanteuse Natalia Clavier, and former Bitter:Sweet singer/songwriter Shana Halligan), the endlessly mesmerizing album also features such guests as U.N.K.L.E. drummer Michael Lowery, Argentine singer/songwriter Federico Aubele, and master Brazilian percussionist Roberto Santos.
Thievery Corporation Present Their First Release Devoted Entirely to the Brazilian-Born Genre that First Connected Them
Although Thievery Corporation stay true to traditional bossa nova's elegant fusion of samba and jazz all throughout 'Saudade,' the album is rich with strange and wonderful flourishes that revel in the duo's hyper-inventive tendencies. Opening with the dusky "Decollage," 'Saudade' glides from the smoldering and string-drenched "Quem Me Leva" to the hushed and mysterious "Sola In Citta" (an Italian-sung nod to the legendary sound tracks of Ennio Morricone, featuring Wurlitzer electric piano by Enea Diotaiuti) to the sweetly ethereal "No More Disguise" (a dream-like piece laced with orchestral strings and bolero rhythms). With the instrumental title track serving as its gently stunning centerpiece, 'Saudade' also offers the sultry and spacey"Claridad" (a swaying Latin number propelled by analog organ beats) and the French lullaby of "Le Coeur" (featuring the sublime saxophone work of Frank Mitchell, Jr.). And on the final track "Depth of My Soul," Halligan delivers a haunting vocal performance that merges with the song's swirling symphonic soundscape to hypnotic effect.
Saudade is the Essence or Feeling of True Bossa Nova
Over the years, Thievery Corporation have given nods to their bossa-nova influence on individual album tracks, slipping those quietly enchanting songs into recordings that reveal the duo's careful studying of everything from Jamaican dub reggae to punk to vintage film soundtracks to psychedelic space rock. After coming up with sketches for several bossa-nova-style numbers while recording their last studio album (2011's Culture of Fear), Garza and Hilton considered releasing an EP showcasing a handful of Brazilian-inspired songs. "The more we worked on those songs, the more we got into the vibe of that vintage, organic sound," recalls Hilton. "Making an album fully dedicated to that sound felt like a good idea, especially at a time when the electronic dance music world is so saturated and there's not much of a focus on musicianship." Rather than feeling hemmed in by the unfamiliar approach of creating music solely in one style, Thievery Corporation found a great deal of freedom in writing and recording the songs that make up 'Saudade.' "In a way it was really liberating to do something out of our wheelhouse, to put ourselves in a totally different mindset and immerse ourselves in this one particular genre," notes Garza.
We're Still Chopping Up Beats, But This Time We're Making Them Sound Warm And Vintage
Now on 'Saudade,' Thievery Corporation are once again changing direction, trading the fiery energy of their last two albums for a wistful mood and summery spirit.a shift that both members found highly refreshing. "Even though we're very socially conscious, it's nice to take a break from the political theme and just concentrate creating some beautiful songs in the same vein as all these old records that we love," says Garza. And as one ofthe most influential and respected names on the electronic/dance music scene, Thievery Corporation also discovered their own breed of rebellion and innovation in committing themselves to a time-worn genre on 'Saudade.'"We're still chopping up beats, but this time we're making them sound warm and vintage.which is not at all what's happening in electronic music right," says Hilton. "What we're doing here is pretty traditional and timeless-sounding, and in that it's completely contrarian."
"The Music They Were Playing And The Whole Mood Of The Place Was Very Inspiring."
Thievery Corporation was hatched in 1995 when Hilton and Garza were introduced by a mutual friend at Washington, D.C.'s Eighteenth Street Lounge . a popular gathering place for musicians and nightlife seekers that is co-owned by Hilton. Hilton had been producing parties and various music events before opening the Lounge with a fellow DJ in the top three floors of a turn-of-the-century mansion just below Dupont Circle. He also had a recording studio, where Garza had once done some music production work, but the two had never met until the night Garza walked into the Lounge.
Brazilian Girls return in 2018 with Let’s Make Love, their first album since the 2008 Grammy-nominated New York City. Formed in 2003, the group—Sabina Sciubba (lead vocals, electronics), Jesse Murphy (bass, vocals), Didi Gutman (keyboards, vocals), Aaron Johnston (drums, percussion, vocals)—was born after the four members crossed paths at East Village club Nublu. “Somehow we all ended up at Nublu on a Sunday, and Ilhan (Ersahin, the club’s founder) suggested we play together,” says Johnston. The band began playing Nublu weekly, embracing a free-form ethos that helped shape their kaleidoscopic sound. “A lot of the spirit of the band comes from being so open to improvise like that,” says Murphy. Fast earning attention for their euphoric live show—and winning fans like Zach Galifianakis, who later cast Sciubba as a regular on Baskets—Brazilian Girls released their self-titled debut in 2005 and sophomore album Talk to La Bomb in 2006.
Produced by longtime Brazilian Girls collaborator Frederik Ruben, Let’s Make Love came to life over the course of several years. Since they’re now scattered throughout the U.S. and Europe, the four band members assembled when possible to write and record, piggybacking those sessions onto gigs in Istanbul and Madrid and Paris and New York. Despite the distance, Brazilian Girls consistently found their chemistry as kinetic as when they first started out. “It’s a little astounding to us because we’ll go so long without playing, and then we get together and things just happen in this very harmonious way,” says Sciubba.
Brazilian Girls bring a woozy romanticism to many tracks on Let’s Make Love. Opening the album with lead single “Pirates,” Sciubba notes of the modern-age new wave love song, “It’s a song about how we should all sleep more and sleep more together. It would change everything. Actually that's what the whole record is about. It may even be the true meaning of life." The album gets its title from a glorious anthem at the heart of the album. Like much of their latest record, the frenetic yet ethereal “Let’s Make Love” takes a more classically arranged form than the band’s earlier work. At the same time, both album and title track embody the quintessential spirit of Brazilian Girls: their strange balance of wildness and elegance, cheeky humor and fractured poetry, soulful mystique and libertine wisdom. “Right now ‘Let’s Make Love’ seems like a very good message to put into the world,” says Sciubba of the song’s inspiration. “It’s not even ‘Make love, not war’—it’s just ‘Make love,’ and nothing else.”
On “Karaköy”—named for an Istanbul neighborhood that Gutman describes as magical—sleepy melodies and languid storytelling underlie the song’s heavy-hearted longing. And with the sweetly breezy, Spanish-sung “Salve,” Sciubba and Gutman share one of the first pieces they ever wrote together, back before Brazilian Girls even existed. “We were jamming and the melody just came back to me,” says Sciubba. “It felt like this record was finally the right time for the karmic rebirth of that one.”
But on songs like “Wild Wild Web”—a feel-good dance number about social decay—and “Impromptu”—a gang-vocal-driven, exquisitely scornful track that Sciubba calls “an anti-conformist anthem”—Let's Make Love slips into a defiant mood suited to the album’s punk-inspired sensibilities. “The electronic stuff we were creating before has become very popular, so maybe we should be doing that again,” says Gutman of Brazilian Girls’ shift in aesthetic. “But ‘we should’ isn’t an idea that exists with us. We do whatever we feel in the moment.”
As Gutman points out, Let’s Make Love was also closely informed by the more commanding vocal delivery that Sciubba brought to the album. “Sabina kind of reinvented herself in the way that she sings on this record—she sounds a little bit like Elvis Presley,” says Gutman. “Singing is just an extension of your way of communicating,” Sciubba adds, “and as a young girl you feel this need to be nice and polite, even in the form of creating. And then as you get older you just want to get straight to the point—you don’t want any bullshit. There’s a need to be more authentic.”
In reflecting on Let’s Make Love, Brazilian Girls attribute their sustained momentum to an egalitarian mentality. “I think the fact that we’ve been able to last so long and keep moving forward has to do with this all starting in a very collaborative way,” says Murphy. “It’s always been a very shared space, with nobody telling anybody what to do.” And thanks to that sense of openness, the band’s stayed true to an instinct-led process that makes their music all the more exhilarating for both artist and audience. “There’s usually no vision or premeditated idea of what we’re going to do,” says Gutman. “It’s more like trying to seize the moment and be completely spontaneous, the same way we do with the live show. We try to get into a trance of some sort and let ourselves be transported by the music and create something transcendent. That’s the place we always want to get to as artists.”