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Source Material

Source Material: Beats Antique, Blind Threshold

by Rachel Devitt

Source Material: Beats Antique, Blind Threshold


If you're a fan of electronic dance music or just, you know, dancing, chances are you've come across a Beats Antique show -- and maybe had your consciousness altered by it. The Bay Area group has been playing everywhere, it seems, and everywhere they go, the kids are twirling, spinning and just generally dancing their behinds off to the swirling grooves assembled by David Satori, Zoe Jakes and Tommy Cappel.

What's more, they sound like they've played everywhere -- or at least been everywhere. Yes, they are adept at heavy beats informed by bone-rattling dubstep, stuttering acid house and deep dub cuts, for starters. But those beats are layered with a veritable tribal-fusion travelogue of world music, from tango to Bollywood, Gypsy jazz to Afro-pop. After all, this is a group whose performances include belly dance (courtesy of the beguiling Jakes) and often feature cameos from folks like Femi Kuti. They know their stuff, and it shows.

In other words, Beats Antique are a perfect candidate for the kind of deep dive our Source Materials offer. More specifically, while their 2010 breakout, Blind Threshold, features unexpected cameos from the likes of MC LYNX and, um, John Popper, we decided to focus on excavating the global sources lurking within. Frankly, there's hardly enough space in one little blog post to cover all the influences and touchstones here, which range from Balkan brass to North African pop, from Turkish arabesque to mbira (African thumb piano) rock. If you've ever considered quitting your job to follow Beats Antique around the world -- or, you know, just shaken your butt off at one of their shows -- you'll find plenty of new dance-driven soundtreks to love here.