T IS FOR THUNDERBALL

Thunderball is downtempo on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Recordings. More jazztastic lounge funk from Washington DC.

Their ESL biog says: Washington, DC-based trio, Thunderball, are globally renowned purveyors of sophisticated, stereophonic-thrillers, and cinematic dub. Since 1997 their productions have shifted effortlessly between the genres of drum & bass, breakbeat and downtempo, building a strong following for their signature sound. The former duo of Sid Barcelona & Steve Raskin are now officially joined by long-time collaborator, Rob Myers. Rob, a fellow ESL Music compatriot, records & tours with Thievery Corporation playing sitar & guitar, most notably on the Thievery classic, “Lebanese Blonde.”

As one of the first artists signed to ESL Music, Thunderball released their first album, Ambassadors of Style, (1999) to critical acclaim. Rolling Stone lauded the album with 3 1/2 stars for its “smooth, cosmopolitan drum and bass.” Drawing from their love of ’60s and ’70s soundtracks, Brazilian beats and Afro-funk rhythms, Thunderball creates multi-faceted soundscapes designed for modern spy chases and late-night encounters.

Thunderball’s seminal second recording, Scorpio Rising, (2001) was a downtempo classic, hailed by All Music Guide as “.blaxploitation funk, cinematic soul, bossa nova lounge, downtempo dub, and downtown drum’n’bass [that] all come together to create a hipster vibe few other groups could even aspire to, let alone create.” Scorpio Rising’s integration of live instrumentation helped establish the organic sound that shaped the future of Thunderball.

After Scorpio Rising, Steve, Sid & Rob joined forces with Jon “JonH” Horvath to found Fort Knox Recordings and the DC-based mega-group Fort Knox Five. As the Fort Knox Five the group has released 6 highly successful singles and completed many high-profile remixes for the likes of A Skillz & Krafty Kuts, Skeewiff, Tito Puente, and Louis Armstrong. They also produced 4 tracks on Afrika Bambaataa’s latest album. Their efforts culminated in 2007 with the release of the Fort Knox Recordings debut CD, The New Gold Standard.

With their latest full-length album, Cinescope, Thunderball return from their Fort Knox duties in full form. URB Magazine declares, “Thunderball are back, dripping in Eastern sitar melodies and tempting drum lines.” Cinescope features 12 vivid soundscapes that fuse Latin funk, Afro rhythms, Indian Dub and Mediterranean Soul. With this release, Thunderball broaden their scope pushing the boundaries of their music both sonically and vocally. On Cinescope they teamed up with long time collaborator Mustafa Akbar on the jazz funk thriller, “Return of the Panther” and on the soulfully introspective, “Elevated States.” Mustafa teams up with Miss Johnna M to rock the party on the ’60s rave-up track, “Get Up with the Get Down.” Thunderball also enlisted the talents of Thievery Corporation’s MC’s Roots and Zeebo of See-I to create the dub ragga, “Strictly Rudeboy.” And the godfather of hip hop, Afrika Bambaataa, for the electro-pop anthem, “Electric Shaka.”

From probably the best ESL compilation “Covert Lounge”:

Thunderball – Chronic Dose  

Thunderball – This Girl  

Thunderball – Let Everything Be  

Bonus track (from Cinemascope):
Thunderball – The Road To Benares  

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~ by acidted on December 31, 2009.

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