Beats Antique - Elektrafone

Beats Antique is part of a rare group of bands that I saw perform live before I had ever heard a note of their music. It was the first night of my very first camping music festival, Electric Forest 2012. Blasting from the Sherwood Court stage we could hear loud brass and heavy percussion, but couldn’t really make out what it was. As we stumbled closer we started to make out a weird mix of tribal and jazz, and at center stage we saw a belly dancer… what was this? The rest of the show was captivating all the way to the end, one of those performances that was just impossible to take your eyes off of. I’ve since been to probably 8 or 9 Beats Antique shows, each one a decisively unique performance that threatens to top the last. They aren’t the kind of group that has a definitive album, but I feel that Elektrafone is the best showcase of what this band can offer. 

Released in 2011, Elektrafone was the group’s sixth album and from a technical standpoint, was designed to be a collection of crowd pleasers. Prior to Elektrafone, they had mostly been putting out concept albums or collections of experimental stuff. Unlike many bands who might be struggling to find their identity in the first few records, Beats Antique seemed to have a good grasp on what they wanted their sound to be like right away. The problem was that the records felt messy and disorganized - Elektrafone was a refinement on that sound in preparation for their first big US tour. 

Highlights on the album include “Cat Skillz” and “Alto”, two tracks that have basically become the primary anthems of the band (along with Beauty Beats). I am also partial to “We Swarm”, which is a remix of a song on Drink the Sea by The Glitch Mob, a previous Album of the Week! Any song that Beats Antique remixes instantly takes on a new identity once infused with their innovative sound. It’s almost impossible to describe if you have never heard it, but I’d call it a healthy mix of Tribal, Jazz, Middle Eastern bellydance, and classical Indian. Yeah, like I said, impossible to describe, but check it out and you’ll see what I mean.


Track List

  1. “Cat Skillz” - 5:30
  2. “The Porch” - 4:07
  3. “Alto “ - 4:17
  4. “Siren Song” - 4:46
  5. “Skytalk” - 4:12
  6. “Snarl Axel” - 4:08
  7. “Uneven” - 5:57
  8. “Swagger” - 4:50
  9. “Alleyway” - 4:28
  10. “We Swarm” (Beats Antique Remix) - 5:56