Every Friday night on KEXP I do a show called Nite Life at 9pm. In the midnight hour I choose a record from my personal collection and bring you trax and stories from that album.
This week its Thievery Corporation and their album The Richest Man in Babylon. Thievery Corporation is a duo based in Washington, D.C. and made up of producers Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. When you see this band live you’ll see Rob and Eric just hanging out at a table in the middle of a whole bunch of other musicians. They have about eight to 10 live musicians playing on stage with them while they’re running samples and loops at this big table of magic.
The Richest Man in Babylon is the duo’s third album. It was released five years ago in September of 2002 on the label that was started by Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, Eighteenth Street Lounge Music. It’s a great label. They are joined on this album by guest vocalists Emiliana Torrini, Pam Bricker and Lou-Lou. The songs are mixed language, they’re sung in English, Spanish, French, and even Farsi.
The opening track is downtempo magic, “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes.”
Flawlessly mixing instruments from all over the world with a lush organic warm sound; live instrumentation, excellent lyrics that are full of wisdom and have sort of a real simple and almost a chant quality to them. They’re simple but they are smart and they’ve got something to say.
The track “State of the Union” is a dub song and it’s a bit more uptempo. The two reggae brothers (obviously not their official handle) sing this one.
I went to a Thievery Corporation concert about a year and a half ago. I had met Rob Garza and Eric Hilton here at the station and when I met them they were so cool and so great to talk to and Rob kissed me on the cheek and I felt stunned. They invited me to the show and we got to hang out backstage. During the show I got pulled up onstage by one of the singers. It was very exciting. I think I’d like to be in that band. You guys can come and get me anytime. I’m ready.
Join me this Friday night for Nite Life at 9pm and The Midnight Album Feature at 12. This week it’s The Replacements gritty-literary rock release Pleased to Meet Me.