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The Richest Man in Babylon

4.3 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 15, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Latest effort by Thievery Corporation entitled the Richest Man in Babylon, finds the duo elevating their signature sound with more templative and thought-provoking songwriting. Due to the live nature of this record, it will be hard for many to call this an electronic album, which once again leaves everyone wondering where Thievery Corporation fits into the musical specturm. Definitly Thievery Corporation goes into a new direction with this album... but that's a good thing.

Amazon.com

Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton and Rob Garza have always treated the line between acoustic and electronic music as a drunken sailor might, unpredictably falling on one side or the other with equal frequency. By this measure, The Richest Man in Babylon is their soberest effort to date, striding confidently into jazz, soul, world beat, and other styles with a direct, reverential approach. The band's last record, Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi, featured a set of classic jazz tunes unadorned with remixes or reinterpretation. But the songs on Babylon are originals, incorporating not just jazz but Afro-beat, Brazilian dance, Persian and Indian music, reggae, and psychedelia, all while making expert use of new and old collaborators like Sleepy Wonder, Lou Lou, and Shinehead. Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini makes an instant impression on the first track, "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes," her voice freeing the song's melody and structure with just a few hypnotic bars. It's hard to call this an electronic record at all; even their dub-influenced tracks miss a certain studio sheen, as if Hilton and Garza simply waded into a sweltering Jamaican beach party and hit record. But while it misses the ambient, ethereal edge that made The Mirror Conspiracy a downtempo classic, Babylon satisfies with organic energy and tasteful eclecticism. --Matthew Cooke
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ESL Music
  • ASIN: B00006CY6H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,616 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Eric Hilton and Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation are two undisputed masters of cool who have released one of the richest and most engaging albums of the year: "The Richest Man in Babylon." To call these guys mere chillout gurus is to do this duo a disservice. On this album, they've taken cafe lounge to exciting heights, incorporating reggae, Eastern influences, and African styles into their already tightly-woven grooves. "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes" gets things right with its frosty vocals from Emillana Torrini. "Facing East" grooves along thanks to its (surprise) Eastern flavor and its sitar, while the electro-laced "Omid (Hope)" delivers airy vocals, mid-tempo drum loops, and light touches of synth bleepery. Reggae gets tossed into the mix in the form of "Exilo (Exile)," and the stellar title track stands out wonderfully. Using both electronic beats and real instruments, Theivery Corporation weave together a multitextured album that cements the duo's reputation as one of the classiest recording acts around. "The Richest Man in Babylon" is more than just music to listen to. It's also music to live by.
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Format: Audio CD
The Richest Man In Babylon shows Thievery's style crystallised; the influences that have all been prominent on 'Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi' and 'The Mirror Conspiracy' are here made Thievery's own, being incorporated with Thievery's smooth measured breakbeats and synth atmospherics. The production is uniformly excellent and sounds even slicker than 'Mirror', and is more cohesive. Rob Garza and Eric Hiltons unflinching attention to detail is apparent everywhere.
The presentation has changed from 'Mirror's spying 'n' flying references - the outlook is more earthy, less technical. The CD came with a booklet of excellent black and white photojournalism images on good quality paper. The images feature people from areas which have inspired Thievery's music.
Their early dub style of 'Sounds' is most apparent in the 'Outernationist', and also appears in 'State of the Union' and the 'Richest Man in Babylon'. The title track is certainly the most commercial track here, featuring some Wailers style horns and a regular song structure.
The latin/bossa influence which came to the fore in 'Mirror' is represented by 'Meu Destino' and 'Exilo', both featuring male singing (as opposed to MCing) by Patrik De Santos and Verny Varela. The sound is lighter than previous Jazzanova-esque grooves such as 'Samba Tranquille'. 'Meu Destino' features nylon acoustic guitar by Ramon Gonzales.
Eastern music is represented by 'Facing East', and 'Interlude'. 'Facing East' features santur and tabla, and vocals, which are joined by a breakbeat a minute in.
However Thievery's strongest developing style is in the ambient-pop-breakbeat style which this album confirms as their trademark.
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Format: Audio CD
Well this is plain and simple just another fine production from the Thievery Corporation. Masters at showcasing their talents for remixing, the duo of Hilton and Garza have created yet another masterpiece of electronica in the laid back vein of music that is transglobal, far reaching and innovative. Their eclectic tastes manage to manipulate Middle Eastern sounds alongside of bossa nova, soul vocals, Latin rhythmns, reggae and jazzy inflections that make for nothing short of a delightful mixture. Listening to this disc is like a fresh soundtrack to the National Geographic images of your mind.Sitars and tablas drive the beat as the elctronica bends and weaves amongst the colors, people and places the music creates. The echos of past greatness is stirred by this recording. If you liked the classic " The Mirror Conspirancy" and have been disappointed by some of their releases that are not remixed than this disc will more than satisy your longing for more. It is a laid back disc, very mellow and perfect at just about anytime of day. It has that lounge lay back and groove sound to it that soothes and satifies the soul. The dreamy qualities are highlighted by the exotic layers of music that create an ambience suited for candles and good company. This is a highly recommended disc that you will never get tired of. Each listening reveals new images, textures and sounds that make for an excellent listening experience. I've been listening to my copy for over a year now and it sounds as good now as the first time I heard it. It is one of the best releases in it's genre in the past few years. Buy it now you won't be dissapointed.
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Format: Audio CD
I can't believe how much I love this album. I had heard of Thievery Corporation from Yahoo's Launchcast, so I downloaded a couple of tracks that I thought sounded good. I liked them, but I didn't end up buying this CD for some time. When I got it, I was blown away. This album must be taken as a whole, even though there are standout tracks. As a whole, it is one of the best chillout CDs of all time. Emiliana Torrini's vocals add a unique flavor to the tracks she appears on, but my favorites would have to be the more middle eastern tracks. The beginning of "Facing East" still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. And the more reggae influenced tracks are great too, like the title track with a great beat and soulful vocals. Most of all, what I love about this album is the organic feel to it. When listening to this, you forget that it's a CD playing on a stereo, and you can almost see groups of musicians jamming together and taking turns on who sets the tempo and regional influence. It's really amazing to behold. And rarely do I find a good chillout CD that I can put in my car stereo and not feel geeky about rolling down the windows and cranking up the volume. I highly recommend this if you're a fan of eclectic world beats, and even if you're not, buy this anyways. Thievery Corporation will convert you.
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