Recorded and produced in Northern California, it’s hard to believe that Beats Antique’s Elektrafone doesn’t hail from more exotic lands. In October 2011, the electronic world fusion DJs released their latest studio album Elektrafone. The album features a slew of guest musicians on a wide array of instruments, which contributes to the trio’s characteristic exoticism. Still, Beats Antique manages to progress their sound in a more accessible style than their previous releases. Elektrafone offers listeners tracks with more mainstream electronic vibes, but there are still noticeable traces of heavy world music influences and their traditional Middle Eastern style.
Beats Antique’s evolved sound is immediately apparent in the album’s first track, “Cat Skillz.” It begins in a similar fashion to “Dope Crunk”—one of their most well known releases—with a melodic, gritty saxophone line, yet the beat is predominantly more straightforward. Tracks like “Skytalk” and the remix of the Glitch Mob’s “We Swarm” more fully adopt the trio’s diversified style, showcasing a balance between world fusion and electro/house. Elektrafone still provides fans of their earlier music with Beats Antique’s impressionable non-Western flavor, especially in tracks like “Swagger,” which combines the sounds of an accordion, musical saw, and longneck banjo.
Elektrafone demonstrates Beats Antique’s diversified musical direction while maintaining foreign stylistics that demand nothing short of belly dancing and hip gyration. In its entirety, the album is like a 21st century spin on “An American in Paris,” effortlessly painting the musical scene of a Westerner exploring the textures of foreign sounds.