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New Music from Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation

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Godfather Of Downtempo Eric Hilton (Of Thievery Corporation) Releases New, 1960s Cinema-Themed Single, “Poppy Fields,” From New LP Out Feb. 23.

February 9th, 2024

GODFATHER OF DOWNTEMPO AND TRIP-HOP PIONEER
ERIC HILTON (OF THIEVERY CORPORATION)

RELEASES NEW, 1960s CINEMA-THEMED SINGLE, “POPPY FIELDS”

THREE 7” SINGLES, “MIDNIGHT MILAN,” “CLOSER” AND “POPPY FIELDS,”
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW, WITH EACH FEATURING AN
UNRELEASED B-SIDE NOT AVAILABLE DIGITALLY

PREVIOUS LP, CORAZÓN KINTSUGI, DEBUTED AT #1 ON THE NACC WORLD
CHART, #3 ON THE CHILL CHART, AND WAS NAMED “BEST NEW MUSIC”
BY NPR MUSIC’s ALT.LATINO

SOUND VAGABOND, AN ALBUM RECENTLY FEATURED AS ONE OF KCRW’S 
TOP 30,
 AVAILABLE VIA MONTSERRAT HOUSE MUSIC ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Montserrat House Music and trip-hop pioneer Eric Hilton are pleased to present “Poppy Fields,” the latest uptempo single lifted from the Friday, February 23 release of Sound Vagabond, a 14-track travelogue by one of the godfathers of downtempo electronic music. Having spent decades merging diverse global genres into a singular music vision, Sound Vagabond is perhaps the ultimate iteration of this ethos — each track an audio picture postcard of a place, real or imagined. “Some memories of the places I’ve been are very clear. Others are distant, nostalgic echos,” Hilton says of his latest showcase. “This record started modestly with some basic ideas, but after writing the first eight tracks, I knew I had a travelogue.” 

Available for pre-order now, Hilton offers “Poppy Fields,” “Closer” and “Midnight Milan” from Sound Vagabond in the form of three 7” colored vinyl releases that feature an unreleased B-side on each. Pre-order these 7” singles, along with the full album, via Eric Hilton’s online shop HERE

The dynamic contrasts in Eric Hilton’s music make his latest full-length album, Sound Vagabond, a rewarding listen, with muscular, rhythmic grooves propelling elegantly crafted sonic landscapes. Hilton’s hybridization of music influences and experiences is nowhere more evident than the album’s title track. “Sound Vagabond” locks into a vintage trip-hop groove, while flutes and Northern African flavors drift in and out. It’s difficult to identify a specific geographic or ethnological fingerprint of these sounds — and the others on the album — because everything Hilton assimilates goes through his “filter” and comes out as his own thing.

The destinations on this sonic travelogue are diverse. “Cerro Allegre” was inspired by Hilton’s visit to Valparaíso, Chile, a city he likens to a Latin San Francisco with stunning vistas. “The Violet Hour” is a breathy, Stan Getz meets space-age bachelor pad jaunt that recalls a distinctive Chicago cocktail bar. “Mumbai Hustle” is reconstituted Bollywood by way of Detroit — tough but fun, like a club where you need to know the secret password to get in, while “Petra” breathes haunted echoes of Jordan through the speakers.

And while every journey enriches the traveler, time spent on unfamiliar ground often brings self-reflection. Hilton explores these themes on two of the record’s strongest tracks (“The Mirror Inside” and “The Grand Intro”). “Those two songs are more self-focused than the rest of the album,” he says. “‘The Mirror Inside’ is about the feeling of creating a different vibrational experience, turning things back on yourself, which is very much where I am when making a record by myself. ‘The Grand Intro’ is tongue-in-cheek – it’s the kind of song I’d like to be playing when I enter a room; it’s got swagger and élan, but it’s also laid back.” 

Hilton, who has used sampling in his music since the early days of Thievery Corporation, didn’t go digging into crates to create crunchy, 12-bit vinyl samples for this record, but instead turned to public domain sample libraries. “This record is like a sound collage, with 60% samples and 40% live instruments. Sampling off old vinyl records is great, but there are obvious licensing and clearance headaches. Public sample libraries are a fantastic resource; you dig through a lot of hilarious garbage, but I’m astounded by the nuggets you can find. You can find specific instruments in any given key, and then the challenge is chopping them up, recontextualizing and integrating them with the track you’re making.” 

The end result is music where the samples don’t call attention to themselves or distract from the carefully curated mood in any way. Sound Vagabond’s closer, “Lumi,” feels like the beginning of a long journey home, and is a perfect way to close out the album. Get your musical passport stamped.

Sound Vagabond track listing:
Endless Affair
Glass Visage
Nico
Closer
Midnight Milan
The Violet Hour
Cerro Alegre
The Grand Intro
Sound Vagabond
Petra
Mumbai Hustle
Poppy Fields
The Mirror Inside
Lumi

Follow Eric Hilton:
Official
 | Instagram | YouTube | Bandcamp | Spotify | Apple Music

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