Dub for a New Year
On The Temple of I & I, Thievery Corporation have successfully blended together many different musical elements. This album has beats one can bump to and rhymes one can vibe with. It has otherworldly production, mixed with some fine live instrumentation. In short, this record is an exceptional feat in the implementation of different styles, as Thievery Corporation have come through with one of the best albums of the year.
The greatest strength of The Temple of I & I is that, in spite of its 1-hour runtime, it never becomes boring. Each track features a new idea, a new sound, that Thievery Corporation toy with to perfection. From the thoughtful rhymes by Mr. Lif on “Ghetto Matrix” to the spacey vibes on “The Temple of I & I,” there is something for everyone on this project. It cannot be classified solely as an electronic, reggae or dub album, but rather a mixture of many elements and and musical cultures, which allows it to transcend any one national or genre identity. Part of the reason for Thievery Corporation’s great success is that they choose great collaborators. Notch brings great singing and emotion to every song on which he appears. “True Sons of Zion” and “Weapons of Distraction,” two of the strongest tracks on the album, both feature him. They feature great concepts that Notch carries through with his lyrics.
There is a sense of unity and counterculture that permeates through The Temple‘s veins, harkening back to messages from hip-hop’s beginnings (e.g. Zulu Nation). One can just tell by looking at the cover art that this album seeks to represent the soul of DJs from the ’70s and ’80s. It manages to pull off hip-hop and reggae so well that, despite its strong electronic elements, its not a strictly electronic album by any means. One whom comes to this album seeking diversity will not be disappointed. Songs like “Time + Space” fuse together the electronic and dub vibes perfectly with deep rolling synths and a classic rhythm.
And for those looking for something unexpected and innovative — especially if they have never heard of Thievery Corporation before: this album is for you. The Temple of I & I is perfect for a laid-back listen by oneself, to groove to with friends, or to just bump while walking. Hats off to Thievery Corporation for delivering a great album. Let’s hope they keep up the good work.