ESL Music LONG known for their worldly rhythms, dubbedout electronic beats and reggae-inspired jams, Thievery Corporation’s seventh album sees Eric Hilton and Rob Garza return to the bossa nova genre that first connected them in the mid1990s. Borrowing its title from a Portuguese word meaning “a longing for something or someone that is lost, a contented melancholy”,
Saudade rides a wave of emotions but is entrenched in the samba and jazz elements of the Brazilian genre. The Washington-based duo enlists the talents of guest musicians, including master Brazilian percussionist Roberto Santos and Argentine singer and ESL labelmate Federico Aubele. The contributions of five female vocalists, including long-time collaborator LouLou Ghelichkhani, meanwhile, back up Garza’s assertions of Saudade being a very feminine record. The instrumental title track makes quite the impact with its lonely acoustic guitar strumming over understated bongo drums, and is a good transition to the Latin-infused Claridad featuring the sultry vocal of Argentinian Natalia Clavier. First single Depth
of My Soul is an orchestral swoon that sees vocalist Shana Halligan — of Los Angeles electronic duo Bitter:Sweet — sing over a cinematic soundscape. Those expecting the sociopolitical commentary of 2011’s Culture of
Fear and 2008’s Radio Retaliation, the rockedged psychedelia of The Cosmic Game, or the dark down-tempo beauty of The Mirror
Conspiracy won’t find it here. Delivered at various times in French, Spanish and Italian,
Saudade is a complex, sensual release paying homage to bossa nova but containing a contemporary edge injected by two who know how to push boundaries in style. Brilliant.