From under the shelter of world acoustic music’s canopy, live electronica has bred a new beast built of brass band and glitch, dubstep and glockenspiel: the musical trio Beats Antique.
Since the group’s conception in the wild underground of San Francsico’s performance art scene, Beats Antique has been notorious for making it nearly impossible to sit still. They meld their mediums as attentively as they fuse the cultures that inspire their sound. The trio create a unique collage: an animalistic, raw musical event that blurs the lines between the provocative, the spiritual, and the artistic, while still maintaining an allegiance to the muses of class and beauty.
The journey that led to Beats Antique today was a winding and twisted path from the San Francisco Bay Area, to the ancient trade routes of the silk road. The influence of their phenomenon spans centuries, with a long line of musical history and innovation behind every note and gesture. In this modern incarnation, the musical alliance of producers David Satori and Tommy Cappel is inspired and emphasized by their collaborative partnership with world-renowned belly dance performer and music producer Zoe Jakes.
David Satori and Tommy Cappel both trained classically before venturing to locations such as Bali, West Africa, and Serbia. With extensive backgrounds in multicultural music production, and the passports to prove it, Satori and Cappel command the spectrum of live and digital instrumentation.
Zoe Jakes adds a third dimension as the multi –cultural and –disciplinary dance counterpart to Beats Antique’s sound. Jakes is a member of 2 major dance troupes, Miles Copeland’s Bellydance Superstars and Rachel Brice’s Indigo Belly Dance Company, as well as a student of ballet and contemporary techniques. Jake’s additional history with Cappel in the Extra Action Marching Band and the Yard Dogs Road Show grants some insight into the caliber of performance that is Beats Antique’s standard.
All of this sets the scene for Beats Antique’s overtly ambitious stage show, a sensory overload conquest of the festival circuit’s most riotous events, such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits festival, and Outside Lands, as well as a catalog of proper tours that include a recent run with Les Claypool in early 2010. According to Satori, the trio is excited by their ability to create a huge sound from their relatively small setup. “It gives us this whole new world of musical opportunities that we’re just starting to scratch the surface of.”
In a prolific 3 years since Beats Antique emerged, the group has released 2 albums and a pair of EPs, with a third album, Blind Threshold, on the way. Notable features of the new release include vaporous violins and Danny Elfman-esque dementia; glitchy, laser-guided harmonica provided by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper; and 2 very different vocal tracks that range between restless pop hooks and vibrant Eastern European dance loops.
With their 2nd release having consistently held down number 1 on Amazon.com’s Middle Eastern category, reached the Top 10 list of most downloaded artists under World Dance, and pierced the Top 20 of most downloaded electronica albums, the expectation of a massive cross-genre reception for this latest work is high.
Each facet of Beats Antique’s resume is a part of a much larger package that is best described as a lost art. Beats Antique is best imagined as an innovative creature built from the cumulative heritage of the world’s music chasing its tail. However vivid that image, when a marching band groove crashes into bluesy folk chords only to be chased by electronic beats and Middle Eastern melodies, you’ll still be surprised.