With a name like Beats Antique, the uninitiated listener expects tribal rhythms and ancient or esoteric influences: on “Sage,” the newest single from the Oakland-based collective, this is pretty much guaranteed. Elijah Badua, a long-time friend of the band, lends his skills on the bowed lute, or Yayli Tanbur, to their eclectic electronics and the result is downtempo delight.
While Badua’s melody takes centre stage, there’s a gorgeous frisson in the tense, swelling atmospheres playing counterpoint: a restrained build to a potent climax that is as much a meditative experience as an organic celebration. The title, “Sage,” is undeniably apt, evoking imagery of both ancient wisdom and occult tradition. The whole is a rich, layered arrangement and a welcome addition to the Beats Antique library of collaborations. If this is the yardstick for what can be expected on a new album, then there’s no doubt in my mind as to a successful outcome. Existing listeners will love the middle eastern flavour, while newcomers – like myself – will welcome a fresh voice in electronic world music that reinterprets exotic influences, repackaging these in an accessible, yet still beautiful – and respectful – format.
What’s really unexpected – and I’m still not sure if it’s a positive or negative criticism – is the song length: clocking in at just over four minutes, the radio-friendly format imparts a succinct and complete impression quickly and effectively, but the content seems designed for rambling extended mixes. This could easily dilute the overall effect, but would be more in keeping with the more psychedelic spectrum of the EDM world. Pre-order the single here.
Run Time: 4:11 Release Date: July 19, 2019 Record Label: Beats Antique Records