Established in the hills of San Francisco, Beats Antique revel in the area’s progressive ideals and multicultural landscape. Since the trio of Zoe Jakes, David Satori, and Tommy Cappel first crossed paths in 2007, their sonic output together has been but part of their overall concern. An accomplished bellydancer, Jakes co-produces the tribal fusion alongside multi-instrumentalist Satori and percussionist Cappel to accompany her sensual movements across the live setting. A Thousand Faces – Act 1 pushes this concept into new territories for the socially conscious collective. Inspired by the work of American mythologist Joseph Campbell (especially 1949′s The Hero with a Thousand Faces), Jakes and Co. utilize a vast knowledge of worldly instrumentals to construct their own rendition of Campbell’s hero’s journey.
Unable to embark on such a quest without a few collaborators, the trio called upon the support of longtime friends to add further character into the story. The lush vocals courtesy of LYNX and Sorne embellish the supernatural-meets-operatic textures that course through “You the Starry Eyed”. Shining light on their comedic side, the game show theme of “Doors of Destiny” (feat. Micha and Leighton) serves as the quest’s challenge and an opportunity to spread a deep-rooted appreciation for spooky, dubstep-laced circus tunes. Cappel and Satori carry further down a pit of electro-acoustic decay with the demented lullaby “Pandora’s Box”.
Just the first half of a two-act release, the album closes with the protagonist still battling demons. Experimental bassist Les Claypool sits in as the fallen angel, laying down his signature low-end charm and guttural calls as “Beezlebub”. The lyric-less demons are more personal within closing track “Veil of Tears”, where Middle Eastern instruments, melodic breaks, missed notes, and uncommon scales (at least for Western ears) transfer anxiety from hero to listener.
Without access to the larger work, some loose ends threaten the strength of this concept. For one, when Act 2 is revealed or live show executed, some insight should surface into the odd jazz arrangements in the likes of “Viper’s Den”. Until then, fans are left with an ambitious cliff-hanger to reexamine.
Essential Tracks: “Pandora’s Box”, “Beezlebub”