If you`ve been monitoring and hopefully dancing your ass off to the ascent of electronic dance
music over the last few years, you know the name Bloody Beetroots and its mastermind Sir Bob
Cornelius Rifo have become synonymous with everything great about the genre. There’s the
festival-highlight live and DJ shows, the tastefully hyperbolic tracks with their redlining builds
and floor-rinsing drops, championed by the likes of Etienne De Crécy, Alex Gopher and Steve
Aoki, which culminated in 2009’s Romborama. There’s even, as last year`s gorgeous
"Chronicles of a Fallen Love" featuring deadmau5 collaborator Greta Svabo Bech showed, the
musical and emotional depth to step away from the dancefloor and into music history.
Now with the new Bloody Beetroots album HIDE, Rifo, the former Italian garage punk prodigy
with "1977" on his chest and the mask on his face, in his punkest effort yet, embraces
contemporary music to the point of throttling it. Featuring collaborations with Paul McCartney,
Penny Rimbaud of Crass, Tommy Lee, Peter Frampton, Chromeo’s P-Thugg, electronic
producers TAI and Bart B More as well as very different soul sensations Sam Sparro and
Theophilus London, HIDE shows Rifo re-envisioning BBR as a complete musical operating
system spanning time, genres and, most of all, preconceptions. Especially, he says, about
“Bloody Beetroots is about electronic contemporary music,” Rifo says. "My challenge this time is
to give values and colors to contemporary music.”
In this sense, HIDE is nothing less than a categorical re-envisioning of electronic music for
dancefloors, lifestyles and provocation - not always in that order.
“My intent is to collect cultural elements to fill what I see as a hole in the current generation’s
sensibilities. I wanted to work with greats of the past to rediscover the pleasure of making
music, of listening to it, of enjoying the process,” Rifo says. “History teaches us that the waiting
and expectation are two allies to forge emotions and frustrations - for both the listener and for
There’s something as perfect as it is ambitious about four generations of rock legends in Paul
and Peter, Penny and Tommy being here, along with P-Thugg, Sam Sparro and Theophilus’
various fingerprints of modern soul funk. Or having the elegiac “Chronicles of a Fallen Love”
amid floor-burning tracks like the frequency firefight that is “Rocksteady,” the soaring “Albion,”
and most of all, “Spank,” a phantasmagoric fairy-dusted freakout of powerdrill bass and
ballroom blitzing which shows Rifo forming an unholy trinity with Germany’s TAI and Dutch
producer Bart B More to deliver a jawdropping update of the classic BBR sound.
But just as perfect - and jawdropping - is the range and depth HIDE shows going outside the
classic BBR sound to include and inflect, as he says, “electronic contemporary music,” to
create, as Rifo terms it, “a transition between what has happened and what will happen.” here’s the cool soul house bump of “All the Girls (Around the World)” featuring Theophilus
London, the sunrise classic rock optimism of Peter Frampton singing “The Beat” through his
trademark talkbox, the soapbox sermon of punk icon Penny Rimbaud proselytizing about “the
new Jim Crow” of the racially imbalanced American prison system on “Furious,” even a hair
metal disco experiment with Tommy Lee on “Raw,” replete with Lee’s cheeky commentary on
“disco shit” matched only by Rifo’s ability to synthesize the synth sounds with crunching guitar
more to Mr. Lee’s liking.
Perhaps the most ambitious track on HIDE, is the Paul McCartney/Youth from Killing Joke
collaboration, “Out of Sight,” which is as much the album’s it’s signature as mission statement:
an anthemic, awesomely orchestrated midtempo blues of a love song where the singer’s lust is
matched only by his anguish.
Rifo explains the unlikely, if ultimately perfect, pairing:
“I was in the studio with Youth of Killing Joke and he asked me if I was looking for people whom
I’d Iike to have on my record, and told him I had two names in mind: Penny Rimbaud of Crass
and Paul McCartney. Because, I mean, you never know. It couldn’t hurt to ask. Youth actually
works with Paul under the name Fireman doing electronic music, so he had the idea to have me
remix of this track of their, ‘Nothing Too Much but Out Of Sight’ to see what Paul would think.
Well, if you know me, you also know that if I do a remix, it will probably end up being basically a
new song. So I recomposed all the harmony, redesigned Paul`s melody with Melodyne, and
then I went to the RAK studios in LONDON to replay all the instruments:
guitars, grand piano, bass guitar, drums. Then we sent it to Paul. He liked it, so I asked, ‘Do you
think, is it possible to re-record the vocals the way I changed them? Because it`s going to sound
even better.’ He agreed, and invited me to his studio, we did the session, and that became ‘Out
Beyond trackmaking and songwriting, he says, is the potential to span generations and genres.
“I want to create a bridge between old and new generations in the Bloody Beetroots way. I want
my fans to research who Paul McCartney is. And I want Paul McCartney fans to learn about
what The Bloody Beetroots is. Let the floodgates open!”
As much as HIDE pushes the notion of what Rifo is capable of with Bloody Beetroots, to form “a
transition between what has happened and what will happen,” it is the album’s overriding theme
of a shared, common and, more often than not, sweaty, pulse-racing humanity that is it’s real
“With Bloody Beetroots, I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last six years of my life travelling
around the world, and in that time I’ve learned to listen to something other than music: the
human soul and the natural breath of the world. Technology has made for a lot more
information, and a lot less real communication,” he says. “In the 1960s and 1970s people hit the
streets to voice their opinion. Now, they do it in 140 characters or less. Having being born in the 70s, I`ve seen this change. There`s a strong cultural shift and maybe even a human laziness.
and as a result I believe a revolution, albeit an unconventional one, is needed to overcome it.”
HIDE is that humanity, that transition, that bridge, that stimulus, that revolution.