No of Discs:
Slip Sleeve (CD or Vinyl)
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 Bonf 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. 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 "D collage," 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 soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, featuring Wurlitzer electric piano by Enea Diotaiuti) to the sweetly ethereal "No More Disguise" (a dreamlike 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).