Beats Antique – Blind Threshold Beats Antique – Blind Threshold

Beats Antique - Blind Threshold

Beats Antique - Blind Threshold

In the late 90’s, Talking Heads singer David Byrne wrote an essay on his distaste for the World Music market. In fact, the essay was unequivocally called “I Hate World Music.” The essay detailed how World Music exists as an umbrella term for anything non-western or ethnic and the act of buying into World Music is a form of cultural exoticism. While the essay made a couple of good points as it also made some broad statements and gave no real remedies to the problem of World Music.

The fact remains that “World Music” has a very different meaning than it did 50 years ago. In fact, “World Music” today is very different than “World Music” five years ago. There seems to be a constant discovery which illuminates certain time periods and cultures which allows genres of music to graduate from “World” to more descriptive terms. 10 years ago, Turkish Psych Rock, Japanese Pop and South African Electronic Music would sit in the dusty world music section. While genres are being discovered and cultures are being celebrated; there seems to be one form of music that will always be world music. In fact, when everything has been discovered this style will be the last record in the world music section. This style is World Fusion, other wise known as Cafetronica.

Beats Antique is the collected work of Northern Californian music school graduates and professional Belly dancers. Their first 2007 release, Tribal Derivations, was an interesting take on American Tribal Bellydance. The drum heavy centerpiece was only accented by electronic decorations with some deviations into tango and nondescript folk guitar. Tribal Derivations, in relation, sounded like the rolling opium smoke wafted over a lush pillow room. It was slow and used negative space and suggestions to its fullest advantage. It sat on the edge of authenticity and interpretation. Their follow up, Collide in 2008 was a less subtle, more confusing declaration completely dismantling the previous work with unnecessary genre amalgamations. Collide’s biggest problem was making electronic music with Middle Eastern flair; rather than the other way around. If Collide was a warning of things to come, Blind Threshold was the plummeting scream of a band who just went off the edge.

Blind Threshold has Beats Antique at its weakest moment. While the Middle Eastern electronic element is still present, the band tries to fit a bevy of guest appearances and styles with the delicacy of fitting 30 people in an elevator. These guest appearances range from the anarchist Celtic rapper Lynx to John Popper – famed front man of the alt-jam band Blues Traveler. The crux of Blind threshold’s purpose is that focus and craft is sacrificed for the desire to include everyone and everything. While guest appearances are intended to strengthen the albums marketability and versatility, these cameos only confuse listeners and cheapen the experience by fitting in harmonica where no harmonica should ever be.

The world fusion tag is not necessary an insult. The largest problem with world fusion is its timid nature. There is a reason why most Putumayo records fit so well in the speakers at Starbucks. It stops at entertainment rather than pushes through the glass ceiling of excitement. Beats Antique continual reliance on Downtempo and their inability to break into a younger market below the age of 35 could doom this outfit all together. Which, of course, would be a shame seeing as Bellydance is a vastly intriguing art and style.

Beats Antique – Blind Threshold Tracklist:

Rising Tide (feat. LYNX)
Miss Levine
Nasvalo (feat. Eva Salina)
Merry Go Round
There Ya Go (feat. John Popper)
I Got…  by Mix n Blend, Narch (Beats Antique Remix)

Beats Antique - Blind Threshold, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2010-09-17T14:19:50-07:00 rating 2.3 out of 5

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