FKX108 – Fort Knox Recordings
14 awesome remixes of classic Thunderball material, out now worldwide!
The recent discovery of a hidden trove of buried remixes offers a rare glimpse into the birth of the Downtempo genre and sheds new light on how to get the party started right! Last year saw Thunderball – the alter ego of Fort Knox Five’s Steve Raskin, Sid Barcelona and Rob Myers – come home to Fort Knox Recordings. While curating the re-release of their legendary catalog Thunderball uncovered a vault of previously-unavailable remixes dating from 1997 to 2007. These songs track the evolution of electronic music in Washington, DC as it was being blasted from the legendary Eighteenth Street Lounge and released on Thievery Corporation’s vaunted imprint: ESL Music.
As one of the first artists to sign to ESL Music, Thunderball are fortunate to have two remixes by the label bosses and Downtempo progenetors themselves! Thievery Corporation offer up two remixes – both produced in the fertile, late-’90s era. “On Pop The Trunk,” they deliver a mid-tempo masterpiece, complete with chanting vocals, ’70s horn samples and a percussion workout that grooves as hard today as it did the day it was popped into the trunk. Their remix of “Hijack” captures that elusive, old-school trip-hop flavor which defined the burgeoning lounge scene.
One of the first remixes Fort Knox Five ever produced was “Heart Of The Hustler.” They turn the drum’n’bass of the original into classic hip-hop soul, a combination that would become the foundation of the FK5 sound. In the progression from Thunderball to Fort Knox Five lies JonH & Raskal, the tech-breaks side project of Jon Horvath and Steve Raskin. On “Domino,” they showcase their breaks chops with huge builds, funky percussion and bass grooves to create an epic and unrelenting funky breaks monster. Fort Knox Five then deliver their own version of ragga breaks on a remix of “Strictly Rudeboy,” increasing the energy of the original on this electro-ska stomper, creating a bass-heavy dancefloor gem.
ESL Music was a hotbed of creativity that launched the careers of many musicians and producers, many of whom are featured in this collection. Italy’s Nicola Conte reinterprets “Elevated States” with live musicians and jazz orchestration, and the result turns the track into vintage ’70s bossa-soul. France’s Chris Joss conjours an eclectic, afro-funk remix of “Thunder In The Jungle,” with live instrumentation that includes funky guitars, stomping drums and staccato claves. New York’s Ursula 1000 transforms the ’60s rave-up of “Get Up With The Get Down” into a moody, nu-disco banger with dark stabs and phat synths. Longtime ESL studio engineer and soundsmith Desmond Williams reworks “Heart Of The Hustler” into a dubbed out reggae-meets-soul remix, a staple of the early 2000’s downtempo sound. Avatars of Dub – early inductees to the ESL Music roster – remix “This Girl” into a trippy, atmospheric drum’n’bass roller with echoes, delays and retro synths.
Bombay Dub Orchestra upped the ante on their remix of “The Road To Benares” by adding masterful flutes, tablas and strings to the sitar and stand-up bass of the original. “Stereo Tonic” was a big track for Thunderball and two great remixes are included here, the first by UK producer Boca 45 of Dynamo Productions. Boca 45 heaps on loads of dirty-vinyl samples and clips, creating a retro-breaks anthem. Taking the track into a deeper direction is Q-Burns Abstract Message who crafts a swinging, reggae-tinged dub-house groove for the dancefloor.
Not only have these tracks been meticulously culled and combed by Thunderball themsleves they have also been remastered to sound as good today as they were meant to sound when they were created. Declassified: Remixes ranges from dub and downtempo to house and breaks, drum’n’bass and global beats to nu disco… a breadth of genres and soundscapes that can only be: Thunderball.
Funk The World 39
mixed by Thunderball
01 Oscar Brown Jr. – Humdrum Blues (Dj Rebel re-shake)
02 Thunderball – The Panther feat. Mustafa Akbar
03 Eric B and Rakim – Soul To Infinity (Jimi Needles DnB Edit)
04 Drumagick – Brazilian D&B feat Joao Sobral (Vocal Club)
05 DJ Chap – Its Seems Im Never (Chap Inna Space remix)
06 Groove Theory – Tell Me (Al Pack Bootleg)
07 Kool & the Gang – Summer Madness (Rowpieces_bootleg)
08 Ancient Astronauts – Lost In Marrakesh (Pathaan’s Mirage Mix)
09 Fort Knox Five – Mission To The Sitars (Thunderball Remix)
10 See-I – Never Give Up (Thunderball Remix)
11 Mista Savona – Carnival (Ed Solo + Stickybuds Remix)
12 Rafau Etamski – Feel So Shy (Original Mix)
13 All Mode, Bert H, Elix – City Is Waiting feat. Elix (Original Mix)
14 Mr Joseph – Form Me to You
15 Thunderball – Scorpio Rising
12 Mile High Remixed
FKX106 – Fort Knox Recordings
All good things come in fives! And now, Fort Knox Recordings is rereleasing Thunderball’s fifth studio album, 12 Mile High Remixed, which was first released in 2011 on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music imprint. Thunderball has invited some of their favorite producers from around the globe to remix the original songs from their album 12 Mile High taking the tracks to new, stratospheric heights and uncharted sonic realms. The remixes cross a wide selection of contemporary electronic music genres including: Lounge, Dub, Drum & Bass, Breaks, Dubstep and House.
Zeb “The Spy from Cairo” begins the journey with his remix of “Dub Science” which traverses the nether regions of Arab soundscapes and Balkan dub. Spain’s Al Lindrum strips down the title track to it’s core with driving, percussive breaks and tripped out sitars. QDUP Foundation’s remix of “I C Colors” brings a psychedelic soul breaks vibe which summons the Funkadelic mothership home. Rhythm & Culture producers, Thomas Blondet and Second Sky create an incredible cinematic soundtrack to “Rio Mescalito” that pays homage to classic ’70s cop show funk. Mash & Munkee continue the soundtrack with a soul jazz version of “Flippin’ It On.” DC’s new latin Dons, the Empresarios bring a late night house vibe to “Low Down Weather.” The party continues with Thunderball putting on their Fort Knox Five hat to bring an electro breaks version of the reggae-tinged anthem “Moon on the Rise.” Mo’ Horizons alter ego, Sono Rhizmo flips things up with their sun-drenched latin remix of “Rico Ritmo.”
To show their love for all things drum and bass, Thunderball invited D&B heavyweights Drumagick and the Basement Freaks to deliver monster remixes of “Make Your Move.” Canadian based producers, Knight Riderz drop a lazer-bass bomb with their twisted, low frequency remix of “Enter the Brahmin.” JPOD the Beat Chef cooks up a mid-tempo stepper with his take of “12 Mile High.” Long time friend and collaborator, Ursula 1000 delivers an electric-rainbow, disco breaks remix of “I C Colors.” The clandestine Mexicans with Guns unload both barrels with their ghettotech remix of “Rio Mescalito” which was featured on RCRD LBL. Ghost’s on Tape Remix of “Runaway” which features ethereal vocals in the middle of an illegal warehouse party circa 1993 has already been lauded by XLR8R magazine. And ESL producer and house DJ Enea closes out the compilation with his dubbed out, future sounds remix of “Dub Science.”
In 2003 Thunderball spawned the Fort Knox Five. Now – all these years later – Fort Knox Recordings is proud to welcome Thunderball home by reissuing this amazing collection. 12 Mile High Remixed delivers 16 DJ-friendly tracks that cross through the many genres of today’s diverse electronic music. Stay tuned for more upcoming Thunderball releases, including new tunes, B-Sides and rarities coming in 2017!
12 Mile High
FKX104 – Fort Knox Recordings
“Thirteen tracks of outernational quality, cinematic in parts and a nufunk sound that most definitely transports you elsewhere… Another stunning sonic exploration that’s well worth taking up.” – IDJ Magazine
“The trio packed up their production tools, jumped in a time machine and hopped from decade to decade, visiting a variety of far-off places… Thunderball intended to create cinematic music and they hit their mark dead on” – The Untz
Fort Knox Recordings is rereleasing Thunderball’s fourth studio album, 12 Mile High, which was first released in 2010 on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music imprint. Washington, DC-based trio Steve Raskin, Rob Myers, and Sid Barcelona are world-renowned producers of sophisticated, stereophonic thrillers and cinematic dub. 12 Mile High, is packed with live-instrumentation, jazzed-out guitars, deep orchestrations and floor-stomping beats. Laced with vocal performances by long-time collaborators Mustafa Akbar, Miss Johnna M and Rootz & Zeebo of See-I, this soundtrack – to a movie that never was – is destined to pull you into the fantastical world of Thunderball.
The first voice on the album is that of Mustafa Akbar, who reprises his role from the “Heart of The Hustler,” on “Make Your Move,” a retro-‘70s car chase thriller set to drum’n’bass beats with vocal stylings that evoke Curtis Mayfield. The party continues with Mustafa in the psychedelic-soul number “I C Colors,” which winds together wah-wahed guitars, arpeggiated synths and reverb-heavy horn stabs. Rootz and Zeebo of See-I and the Thievery Corporation live band each get a showcase on two different reggae-flavored tracks. Zeebo takes to the control tower on the the dubbed-out, tabla head-nodder “Dub Science” and Rootz leads the charge over the inspirational breakbeats of “Moon On The Rise.” Thunderball’s main chantuese, Miss Johnna M, returns to familiar Brazilian territory on “Rico Ritmo,” bubbling her percussive, dreamy vocals on this drum’n’bass stepper and her beautiful, soft tones are featured on the Downtempo anthem “Runaway.”
While the vocal tracks are a highlight, it’s the instrumental tracks that quickly draw you in to the Thunderball universe. The adventure begins with the swirling Eastern drones of “Enter The Brahmin,” and quickly launches into orbit with the title track, “12 Mile High,” a spaced-out, trip-hop sitar trek. “Low Down Weather” drops the listener into a Santana-inspired, jazzy, low-rider groove, and flutes and live sax are the driving forces behind “Flippin’ It On,” a downtempo, swinger propelled by funky drum breaks. Thunderball take a detour thru the wild West with “Rio Mescalito,” which features acoustic, finger-picked guitars driving the wagons south of the border with latin percussion riding shotgun. And “To Catch A Vixen” is a romantic trip-hop romp that swims through lush strings and airy guitars, ultimately cascading into the epic, final track “Penthouse Soul,” a downtempo, orchestral drum’n’bass classic.
In 2003 Thunderball spawned the Fort Knox Five. Now – all these years later – Fort Knox Recordings is proud to welcome Thunderball home by reissuing their fourth studio album, an album that shifts effortlessly between the worlds of drum n bass, dub and downtempo. 12 Mile High delivers 13 tracks of globe-spanning, mind-altering, cinematic music designed to bring you straight to the edge of the stratosphere.
FX103 – Fort Knox Recordings
“Thunderball are back, dripping in Eastern sitar melodies and tempting drum lines.” – URB Magazine
“With their album Cinescope, the dons of the District are set to blow on a whole other level. The record is a cinematic tribute to twelve separate and completely non-existent films.” – BPM Magazine
The third Thunderball album to be re-released on Fort Knox Recordings is a series of cinematic soundscapes that explore a vivid range of technicolor grooves made for the widescreen. Originally released on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music imprint in 2006, Cinescope features features twelve tracks that fuse Latin Funk, Afro rhythms, Indian Dub, and Mediterranean Soul with electronic production to create cinema for the ears. After years of collaboration (that also led to the formation of Fort Knox Five) Steve Raskin and Sid Barcelona officially brought Rob Myers into Thunderball on this album, permanently adding his voice to their exotic musical journey.
With this release, Thunderball broaden their scope pushing the boundaries of their music both sonically and vocally. Cinescope begins with “The Road To Benares,” an epic sitar and violin suite that brings the dancefloor to the steps of the mighty Ganges. Long time collaborator Mustafa Akbar adds his retro 70’s-style vocals to the jazz-funk thriller, “Return of the Panther” and croons soulfully on the introspective, “Elevated States.”
On the sixties rave-up track “Get Up with the Get Down” Mustafa teams up with Miss Johnna M to rock the party. Miss Johnna M also gets to bubble her percussive vocals on the Bossa-flavored “ChicaChiquita.” The group enlisted the rudie talents of Thievery Corporation vocalists Rootz and Zeebo of See-I to create the dub ragga anthem, “Strictly Rudeboy.” And the godfather of Hip Hop, Afrika Bambaataa, drops his booming vocal stabs and hooks on the sitar-laden Electro Breaks tune, “Electric Shaka.”
On Cinescope, Thunderball bridges the gap between Electro, Bollywood soundtracks, Hip-Hop, Drum&Bass, Soul, Funk, Reggae, Jazz, and Lounge, all awash in beautifully lush string orchestrations. Every track on the album is like a theme song to a different kind of film, and feels like changing channels on a sonic journey. As PopMatters puts it “Thunderball demonstrates a love for movies, seventies funk, exotic sounds… Cinescope is broad in scope and flawless in execution. Anyone looking for a good time or a good record should check it out.”