Beats Antique weaves world percussion, exotic instruments, electronica, bellydance, burlesque, sideshow elements, and performance art into a spellbinding stage show.
The performance trio got its start in 2007 when dancer Zoe Jakes was performing tribal fusion bellydance — an American dance genre that fuses bellydance moves with hip-hop, Indian, North African, flamenco, and other styles — with the Bellydance Superstars show on a world tour. Miles Copeland, the show's manager, is also a world music producer. After working with Jakes as a dancer, and with her partner David Satori to create sound for a DVD project, he agreed to produce an album of their music. The group, which also includes drummer Tommy Cappel, recorded their first album, Tribal Derivations.
Their second album, Collide, reached into the top twenty most downloaded albums on Amazon in the electronic category.
Jakes is involved in writing and producing the music, which is arranged to complement her dance style. The sound draws heavily on instruments and percussions from North Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, but mixes those sounds with electronic samples. Their musical style also incorporates circus clown thematics, down-tempo, hip-hop, and afrobeats.
The music can be haunting, dark, sometimes jarring. At times, it feels heavy, mechanical, steampunkish. Other times it's as bright and lively as a clown car. Satori's gypsy violin and viola gives heart and soul to the tracks, as the live instruments are played over a heavy electronic and percussion mix. Satori also plays the guitar, and Saz, a Turkish banjo.
While Jakes occasionally plays a drum, her role onstage is usually as a dancer and performance artist. Her job is to make the music visual, to interpret the sounds with her body. Jakes is in the top tier of the world's tribal fusion bellydancers, but she likes to incorporate other elements into the shows as well. She dons an elaborate headdress and long fake fingernails (think Wolverine) for a Balinese-inspired dance. She wraps her body in tight cloth to emulate a snake onstage. She even whips out an old-fashioned Burlesque-style feather fan dance.
Expected some very unexpected, surreal elements onstage. Like the musicians suddenly donning animal heads.
Or a giant inflatable squid attacking them while they play. Beats Antique is currently on the road with their Thousand Faces US tour.