Washington, DC, oh what a plethora of puns, anger induced comments, divided sentiment and conspiracies that come to mind when speaking of one particular place. When you throw the name correlating term “Thieves” into the mix, well, I’ll keep all smartass remarks to myself here. But when you realize the ties of Thievery Corporation and Washington, DC are linked via Fort Knox Recordings suddenly things get very real and hugely exciting.
Following up their 2011 release, brothers Archie “Zeebo” Steele and Arthur “Rootz” Steele once again take the reins of See-I and grace our ears with Knowledge Shine Bright.Featuring the skills of Mr Lif & Flex Mathews as well as Candice Mills & Edy Blu, the twelve tracks take on a personality that has one foot in retro style and one in the progressive electronic future. Combined it makes for one of the better funk/reggae/techno releases you’ll come across.
As their name would suggest, this latest release carries a sense of clarification and understanding without hitting you heavily with the political agenda or some other protest. Though it exists, I tip my hat to these guys for keeping things so clever and fun while conveying their message. The commanding style and sound drifts and spins on waves that can only be achieved by See-I and Fort Knox. The level of success reached with this record in whole and in individual tracks is a testament to true talent. “Musical Murder” soars on all the elements that made me fall in love with the Corporation but stands on its own two feet. “The Boogieman” reignites the funky heyday of Mr. Clinton (not the one with the intern issue) and the P-Funk. “Wrong Side Of The Line” clings to addicting deep composition and powerful lyrics. But these are just few bright spots on a shining release that clearly conveys the grasp a musician can have on their art.
I think the best part of Knowledge Shine Bright is that no matter how deep it feels, how finite the skills are it never becomes one of the albums that make you feel uncomfortable because you’re “not in the know.” It welcomes you with a warm embrace and makes you feel a part of the experience. If more things that came out of DC were like this the world would be a much, much better place.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He believes everyone has a funk side that needs to be let out. Although, last time he got funky in public he was kindly asked to leave the establishment by two very large men.