The Bloody Beetroots
- OrginLos Angeles, U.S.
About The Bloody Beetroots
If you’ve been monitoring and hopefully dancing your ass off to the ascent of electronic dance music over the last few years, you know the name Bloody Beetroots and its mastermind Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo have become synonymous with everything great about the genre. There’s the festival-highlight live and DJ shows, the tastefully hyperbolic tracks with their redlining builds and floor-rinsing drops, championed by the likes of Etienne De Crécy, Alex Gopher and Steve Aoki, which culminated in 2009’s Romborama. There’s even, as last year’s gorgeous “Chronicles of a Fallen Love” featuring deadmau5 collaborator Greta Svabo Bech showed, the musical and emotional depth to step away from the dancefloor and into music history.
Now with the new Bloody Beetroots album HIDE, Rifo, the former Italian garage punk prodigy with “1977″ on his chest and the mask on his face, in his punkest effort yet, embraces contemporary music to the point of throttling it. Featuring collaborations with Paul McCartney, Penny Rimbaud of Crass, Tommy Lee, Peter Frampton, Chromeo’s P-Thugg, electronic producers TAI and Bart B More as well as very different soul sensations Sam Sparro and Theophilus London, HIDE shows Rifo re-envisioning BBR as a complete musical operating system spanning time, genres and, most of all, preconceptions. Especially, he says, about dance music.
“Bloody Beetroots is about electronic contemporary music,” Rifo says. “My challenge this time is to give values and colors to contemporary music.”
In this sense, HIDE is nothing less than a categorical re-envisioning of electronic music for dancefloors, lifestyles and provocation – not always in that order.
“My intent is to collect cultural elements to fill what I see as a hole in the current generation’s sensibilities. I wanted to work with greats of the past to rediscover the pleasure of making music, of listening to it, of enjoying the process,” Rifo says. “History teaches us that the waiting and expectation are two allies to forge emotions and frustrations – for both the listener and for composer.”
There’s something as perfect as it is ambitious about four generations of rock legends in Paul and Peter, Penny and Tommy being here, along with P-Thugg, Sam Sparro and Theophilus’ various fingerprints of modern soul funk. Or having the elegiac “Chronicles of a Fallen Love” amid floor-burning tracks like the frequency firefight that is “Rocksteady,” the soaring “Albion,” and most of all, “Spank,” a phantasmagoric fairy-dusted freakout of powerdrill bass and ballroom blitzing which shows Rifo forming an unholy trinity with Germany’s TAI and Dutch producer Bart B More to deliver a jawdropping update of the classic BBR sound.
But just as perfect – and jawdropping – is the range and depth HIDE shows going outside the classic BBR sound to include and inflect, as he says, “electronic contemporary music,” to create, as Rifo terms it, “a transition between what has happened and what will happen.”
There’s the cool soul house bump of “All the Girls (Around the World)” featuring Theophilus London, the sunrise classic rock optimism of Peter Frampton singing “The Beat” through his trademark talkbox, the soapbox sermon of punk icon Penny Rimbaud proselytizing about “the new Jim Crow” of the racially imbalanced American prison system on “Furious,” even a hair metal disco experiment with Tommy Lee on “Raw,” replete with Lee’s cheeky commentary on “disco shit” matched only by Rifo’s ability to synthesize the synth sounds with crunching guitar more to Mr. Lee’s liking.
Perhaps the most ambitious track on HIDE, is the Paul McCartney/Youth from Killing Joke collaboration, “Out of Sight,” which is as much the album’s it’s signature as mission statement: an anthemic, awesomely orchestrated midtempo blues of a love song where the singer’s lust is matched only by his anguish.
Rifo explains the unlikely, if ultimately perfect, pairing:
“I was in the studio with Youth of Killing Joke and he asked me if I was looking for people whom I’d Iike to have on my record, and told him I had two names in mind: Penny Rimbaud of Crass and Paul McCartney. Because, I mean, you never know. It couldn’t hurt to ask. Youth actually works with Paul under the name Fireman doing electronic music, so he had the idea to have me remix of this track of their, ‘Nothing Too Much but Out Of Sight’ to see what Paul would think. Well, if you know me, you also know that if I do a remix, it will probably end up being basically a new song. So I recomposed all the harmony, redesigned Paul’s melody with Melodyne, and then I went to the RAK studios in LONDON to replay all the instruments: guitars, grand piano, bass guitar, drums. Then we sent it to Paul. He liked it, so I asked, ‘Do you think, is it possible to re-record the vocals the way I changed them? Because it’s going to sound even better.’ He agreed, and invited me to his studio, we did the session, and that became ‘Out Of Sight.’”
Beyond trackmaking and songwriting, he says, is the potential to span generations and genres. “I want to create a bridge between old and new generations in the Bloody Beetroots way. I want my fans to research who Paul McCartney is. And I want Paul McCartney fans to learn about what The Bloody Beetroots is. Let the floodgates open!”
As much as HIDE pushes the notion of what Rifo is capable of with Bloody Beetroots, to form “a transition between what has happened and what will happen,” it is the album’s overriding theme of a shared, common and, more often than not, sweaty, pulse-racing humanity that is it’s real accomplishment.
“With Bloody Beetroots, I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last six years of my life travelling around the world, and in that time I’ve learned to listen to something other than music: the human soul and the natural breath of the world. Technology has made for a lot more information, and a lot less real communication,” he says. “In the 1960s and 1970s people hit the streets to voice their opinion. Now, they do it in 140 characters or less. Having being born in the ’70s, I’ve seen this change. There’s a strong cultural shift and maybe even a human laziness. and as a result I believe a revolution, albeit an unconventional one, is needed to overcome it.”
HIDE is that humanity, that transition, that bridge, that stimulus, that revolution.
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