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.”
FKX102 – Fort Knox Recordings
Thunderball’s epic second album has been re-released on Fort Knox Recordings and is now available for download or streaming!
Fort Knox Recordings is rereleasing Thunderball’s most beloved recording! Originally released on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music imprint on Sept 11th of 2001, “Scorpio Rising” was the follow-up to the acclaimed debut “Ambassadors of Style.” Though it’s launch was slowed by the events of that day, the slow-burn acesion of this album has put it on the short list of many producers and fans alike as one of the great albums of the golden age of the downtempo genre. Auspiciously, the addition of Rob Myers (Thievery Corporation “Lebanese Blonde”) as a colaborator/instrumentalist and Mustafa Akbar as a vocalist was to pave the way for the formation of the Fort Knox Five.
Changing styles like scenes from a ‘70s thriller, “Scorpio Rising” plays like a cinematic venture into a world of underhanded deals, fast cars and femme fatales. Thunderball expertly maneuver between Drum’n’Bass, downtempo, cinematic soul, bossa nova and breakbeat to create a fluid collection of low rider grooves. From the pumping breakbeat-funk of “Domino” to the high noon atmospherics of “Angela’s Lament,” Steve Raskin and Sid Barcelona once again demonstrate the depth and breadth of their production skills.
Featuring the mighty vocals of Washington DCs’ Mustafa Akbar, “Heart of the Hustler” gets between the silken sheets of funk & soul to create a gritty Drum’n’Bass masterpiece. Drum and Bossa infused tracks like “Vai Vai” and “Solar” hitch a ride on Afro-Cuban beats to move the party beyond the lower 48 as the journey moves East in the Sitar-infused hip-hop classic “Stereo Tonic.” Refuling in the deepest of terretories, tracks like “Scorpio Rising” and “Vibrations” get the fuel levels topped off just enough for a return trip.
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 classic album, an album which expanded the boundries of Downtempo. A go-to album for the dancefloor cognoscenti, the beat freaks, the atmospherists and the headphone junkies alike.
Ambassadors Of Style
FKX101 – Fort Knox Recordings
After nearly two decades, Thunderball is coming home to Fort Knox Recordings! Originallly released on Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music imprint in 2000, Thunderball’s debut “Ambassadors of Style” is a lethal cocktail of drum-n-bass, trip-hop, and downtempo that was years ahead of it’s time and sounds more relevant today than ever.
Born and bred in the city where secret agents once lingered in smokey lounges, Thunderball took their cues from ’70s spy thrillers & Italian movie scores to composed a soundtrack for life in the underbelly of the nation’s capital. Working in a hidden studio known only as Fort Knox, founding members Steve Raskin and Sid Barcelona produced an album as dramatic as any spy escapade with each sonic adventure capturing the exhilarating force that can only be…Thunderball.
Having forged their sound in the heady days of the 1990’s spinning and listening to the likes of Kruder & Dorfmiester, Hospital Records, Air and DJ Shadow, Thunderball distinguised themselves by adding a healthy dose of drum’n’bass to their brand of downtempo dub as heard on songs like “Hijack,” “Prime Minister” and “Pop The Trunk.” One of the most popular tracks is the rudeboy, ragga, jungle-anthem “Selector,” featuring Washington, DC’s own Hutchy on vocals. There are also two sun-drenched drum’n’bass tracks highlighted by the lush vocal stylings of Miss Johnna M, both “This Girl” and “Sirocco” take the listener back to the vocal-heavy, jazzy jungle era.
ESL Music made its name in the ‘90s by defining a new genre of downtempo music, and as the first band signed to the label, Thunderball played a key role in developing this sound. Playing “Ambassadors of Style” will transport listeners to the dancefloor of the Eighteenth Street Lounge where ESL Music was born. The album’s title track is a classic piece of Trip-hop along the lines of Portishead or Massive Attack and “The Moon, The Sky” takes users on a wild ride into a broken beat, dubbed-out trip-hop world. “Chronic Dose,” “Late Nite Trick” and “Sid’s Mellow Trip” are smooth, refined slices of downtempo, perfect for late-night chill out sessions.
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 classic album, an album which helped define the Washington, DC music scene. A time capsule from a generation ago, “Ambassadors of Style” is the perfect reintroduction to the world of Thunderball, with many more sonic landscapes and textures yet to be explored….
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Dub FX uses a Boss RC-50 Loop Station along with a GT-10 effects pedal to create vocal-only beats, and then sings & raps over the top. His music is infused with drum and bass, hip-hop and dub step influences and has the power to turn heads of all backgrounds across the world with his prolific street based performances. After having built up a solid fan-base, he has released several records, including a solo album, Everythinks a Ripple, and many collaborative works. He still travels the world, and seems set to bring looper pedals some much deserved attention from across the genres. Together with his Partner Flower Fairy he takes to North America for the first time to bring the much talked about European live show to our shores.