Thievery Corporation - Richest Man In Babylon
Richest Man In Babylon
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Notes / Reviews

The Richest Man in Babylon is the group Thievery Corporation's third album, released on their Eighteenth Street Lounge label. It was released in 2002. Like Thievery Corporation's previous albums, The Richest Man in Babylon is electronic music with a downtempo aesthetic. The group mixes many different styles in an audacious fashion. Diverse influences such as dub, jazz, dance music, rap, reggae, and especially Indian music are boldly yet smoothly combined. The group's usual elements of echoing synth lines, heavy bass, compressed beats and acoustic instruments are present as well. The songs are sung in English, French ("Une Simple Histoire"), Portuguese ("Meu Destino"), Spanish ("Exilio") and Persian ("Omid"), complementing the group's cosmoplitan outlook. The title track, as well as "State of the Union", incorporate protest music into the group's sound, with both songs making strong political statements. The album features various singers from all over the globe (Iceland, Jamaica, France) including Emiliana Torrini, LouLou, Pam Bricker, Latin singers and several Jamaican rappers including Notch. The album features both electronic and live instrumentation, treading "the line between acoustic and electronic music as a drunken sailor might, unpredictably falling on one side or the other with equal frequency," as one music journalist put it in a positive review.


The critical reception was mixed, but several large publications gave it very favorable reviews, getting 4 of 5 stars from Rolling Stone Magazine and called "a great album...this ranks as Thievery Corporation's finest yet." by the BBC's Collective magazine. Allmusic's John Bush disliked it though, considering it "bland."

Among fans the album is popular, peaking at Number 2 on Billboards Top Electronic Albums chart and Number 9 on their Top Independent Albums Chart. As of August 2006, songs from The Richest Man in Babylon form the majority of their concert setlist, followed closely by songs from their next album, The Cosmic Game, and the previous The Mirror Conspiracy. The album was received favorably among Thievery's fans.

This text has been derived from The Richest Man in Babylon (album) on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Artist/Band Information

Thievery Corporation is a Washington, D.C.-based recording artist and DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza, Eric Hilton, and their supporting artists. Their music style mixes elements of dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern, and Brazilian (such as bossa nova) with a lounge aesthetic.


Thievery Corporation was formed in the summer of 1995 at Washington D.C.'s Eighteenth Street Lounge. Rob Garza and Lounge co-owner Eric Hilton were drawn together over their mutual love of club life, as well as dub, bossa nova and jazz records. They decided to see what would come of mixing all these in a recording studio, and from this, the duo started their Eighteenth Street Lounge Music record label.

The duo drew attention with their first two 12" offerings, "Shaolin Satellite" and "2001: a Spliff Odyssey" and with their 1997 debut LP, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi.

In 2002 they released The Richest Man in Babylon on their ESL label. This fifteen track album is similar in sound and timbre to their earlier 2000 release, The Mirror Conspiracy, and features performances by vocalists Emilíana Torrini, Pam Bricker, and Loulou.

In 2005 they released The Cosmic Game, which has a darker, more psychedelic sound than The Richest Man in Babylon. The album also featured more high-profile guest singers on it, including Perry Farrell, David Byrne, and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

In 2006 the group released Versions, a selection of remixes done by Thievery Corporation for other artists. They toured around the United States, playing at Lollapalooza. The tour was photographed by Rob Myers, Thievery Corporation's sitar and guitar player, in the Blurb photo book Thievery Corporation 2006. In 2006, the band also recorded "Sol Tapado" for the AIDS benefit album Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot + Latin Redux produced by the Red Hot Organization.

The group released their fifth studio album, Radio Retaliation, on September 23, 2008. It was nominated for the Grammy for best recording package. Thievery Corporation's tour started out with 5 consecutive sold out shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.

The language of the group's lyrics throughout their career include English, Spanish, French, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian and Hindi. This reflects the group's world music influences.

They were the opening act on August 1, 2009 for Sir Paul McCartney at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

On July 27, 2010, Babylon Central, the cinematic directorial debut of founding member Eric Hilton, was released. Set (and shot) in Washington, D.C., the film follows tripwire events in the interconnected lives of its characters, each influencing power brokers' schemes to manipulate international currencies.

Thievery Corporation announced via Facebook on 4th February 2011 that their new album will be called Culture of Fear, and released in June 2011.


Thievery Corporation has taken progressive political stances on various issues, opposing war and exploitative trade agreements, while supporting human rights and food programs. Tracks such as "Amerimacka" and "Revolution Solution" from their album The Cosmic Game and Richest Man in Babylon from the album of the same title reveal the group's opposition to the positions and initiatives of former president George W. Bush's administration.

In September 2005, the group participated in the Operation Ceasefire concert, with the objective of ending the Iraq War.

From their press release regarding their album Radio Retaliation Garza said:

Radio Retaliation is definitely a more overt political statement There's no excuse for not speaking out at this point, with the suspension of habeas corpus, outsourced torture, illegal wars of aggression, fuel, food, and economic crises. It's hard to close your eyes and sleep while the world is burning around you. If you are an artist, this is the most essential time to speak up."

Thievery Corporation are vocal advocates for the World Food Programme, seeing hunger as "...something basic, really elemental, that transcends boundaries around the world."

At Lollapalooza 2009, with some of America's largest bank's skyscrapers towering in the background, the group spoke out against the IMF after playing the politically charged song "Vampires".



* Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi (1997)

* The Mirror Conspiracy (2000)

* The Richest Man in Babylon (2002)

* The Cosmic Game (2005)

* Versions (2006)

* Radio Retaliation (2008)

* Culture of Fear (2011)

Singles and EPs

* "2001: A Spliff Odyssey" (1996)

* "Dub Plate, Vol. 1" (1996)

* "The Foundation" (1996)

* "Lebanese Blonde" (1998)

* "DC 3000" (1999)

* "It Takes a Thief" (1999)

* "Focus on Sight" (2000)

* "The Lagos Communique" (2000)

* "Shadows of Ourselves" (2000)

* "Bossa Per Due" (2001)

* "Sol Tapado" (2005)

* "Revolution Solution"

* "Warning Shots"

* "The Heart's a Lonely Hunter"

* "The Richest Man in Babylon"

* "Halfway Around the World"

* "Incident at Gate 7"

* "Encounter in Bahia"

* "ESL Dubplate"

* "Shaolin Satellite"

* "Chaplin Swankster"

* "Originality"

* "Supreme Illusion" (2007) – Cover designed by Nikolas Schiller


* Dubbed Out in DC (1997)

* Covert Operations (1998)

* Abductions and Reconstructions (1999)

* Jet Society (1999)

* Rare Tracks: 18th Street Lounge (1999)

* DJ-Kicks: Thievery Corporation (1999)

* Thievery Corporation and Revolution Present: Departures (2000)

* Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi (2001)

* Modular Systems (2001)

* Den of Thieves (2003)

* The Outernational Sound (2004)

* Frequent Flyer: Rio De Janeiro (2004)

* Babylon Rewound (2004)

* Frequent Flyer: Kingston Jamaica (2005)

* Red Hot + Latin: Silencio = Muerte Redux (2006)

* Changed To Lo-Fi (2006)

* Warning Shots: Digibox Set (2007)

* It Takes A Thief: The Very Best of Thievery Corporation (2010)


This text has been derived from Thievery Corporation on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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