Thievery Corporation - Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi (2xLP Vinyl)

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The debut album from Thievery Corporation (Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) was released in 1997 as a first-of-its-kind electronica record. The phrase 'trip-hop' was coined in 1994 during the influx of alt-rock techno music and perfectly describes the acid-jazz tracks that make up the album. With a blend of lounge, electronic, and folk influences, this is a listening experience that caters to everyone. The remastered album features signature track 'Shaolin Satellite' and bonus tracks 'Sun, Moon, and Stars' and 'Sleeper Car'.


The interplay between the deep clear bass and the light haunting Indian instruments and tones gives this recording real life enhanced by the excellent sound quality.

I have not set out to write reviews of the music content as “beauty is in the ears of the listener”. These reviews are about the quality (or not) of the recorded sound. To read about how the reviews are done please see my profile.

• Clarity – excellent, no muddiness
• Channel separation - excellent
• Channel balance – excellent used in an innovative and unusual way, especially regarding the use of reverb which travels between the channels yet does not feel or sound artificial.
• Sound Stage – good, but not the broadest as primarily all in the centre. However the sound stage is exceptionally detailed.
• Distortion – non audible
• Compression – very good dynamic range, highs and lows do not sound limited or muted.
• Atmosphere – excellent, very much the laid back club lounge sound and feel that Thievery Corporation made their own.
• Bass – low frequencies - excellent, very detailed with the ability to “slam”. Bass guitar “thrums” away in the background whilst the drums have a good realistic presence. The kick drum sound is outstanding. The bass really powers away in the background.
• Treble – high frequencies – very good and interesting especially when the Indian sub continent elements come into play perfectly counter balancing the superb drum beats. The Indian tones add a subtle delicacy to this recording.
• Vocals – detailed, varied, haunting on occasion really add a sense of presence.

As a general rule of thumb recordings from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are nearly always better on the original vinyl. Remasters often fail to please as it’s just not possible to make a silk purse from a sows ear, i.e. the original recording lacks the necessary detail to be processed digitally and show an audible improvement. Indeed such processing can make the sound worse.

Modern recordings which have been processed digitally from start to finish can be as good as vinyl. CD’s are often unfairly criticised for being poor quality. This is not the case, it is the original recording or the process which is to blame. Modern “remasters” can both enhance and degrade a recording. The statement GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) is the limiting factor. Ignore this at your cost.

By: Igloo

A1 A Warning (Dub)
A2 2001 Spliff Odyssey
A3 Shaolin Satellite
A4 Transcendence
B1 Universal Highness
B2 Incident At Gate 7
B3 Scene At The Open Air Market
B4 The Glass Bead Game
C1 Encounter In Bahia
C2 The Foundation
C3 Interlude
C4 The Oscillator
C5 Assault On Babylon
D1 .38.45 (A Thievery Number)
D2 One
D3 Sun, Moon, And Stars
D4 Sleeper Car

Label: Primary Wave Music