Threat From Outer Space
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Threat From Outer Space


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"Quickspins: Capsule reviews of this week's new CDs"


Bleeding the Dying Elephant (Independent)

If the previous EP was scrappy, the Vancouver group's first long player is a much smoother and more assured merger of hip-hop beats and horn arrangements with elements of rock and jazz. There are a few vintage moves here, too.

- Tom Harrison - The Province Newspaper -

"Threat From Outer Space- Bomb Beat Music Since 1997"

A loose collection of live tracks and studio takes, this EP showcases Threat From Outer Space in all its ragged glory, from MC Tameem Barakat's ingenious footwear freestyle on "05-29-2003" to the spooky jazz atmospherics of "S.P.O.R.E". What Barakat lacks in mercurial flows he makes up for with incisice critiques of western consumerism, an approach that reaches an impassioned peak on "Luxury". Vehement without being shrill, the rapper castigates our (and his own) object -orientated lifestyle, reminding us just how good we North American have it.
Lest heads think this East Side quartet merely a derivative version of Rage Against the Machine or Warsaw Pack, rest assured that these players have honed their own musical voice, one that features vaporous melodic passages floating over rugged breakbeat patterns. Most impressive among the tunes on this EP is " Appear and Disappear", a deft merger of Ennio Morricone-like guitar wailing, nimble bass figures, and that ever present backbeat. Protest has rarely sounded so funky.

Martin Turenne - Georgia Straight

"CBC interview with Tameem B - Threat From Outer Space" - CBC Radio 3


Threat From Outer Space MC catches a break
By Adrian Mack
According to not totally reliable sources, rocket scientist and father of the Apollo space program, Wernher von Braun, spent his dying moments in 1977 confessing a dark secret to his closest colleague. The former Waffen-SS officer alleged that America’s path toward space-based weaponry was being carefully engineered by its very own national security apparatus. A population already made pliable through the Cold War menace of communism would eventually face an even more insidious foe in the shape of global terrorism, he predicted. That would be replaced, finally, with the biggest, and phoniest, bogeyman of them all—the threat from outer space!

Sitting in Café Roma on Commercial Drive, Threat From Outer Space frontman Tameem Barakat emits a roar of laughter when he hears this story. The Vancouver-born MC actually took the name of the five-piece outfit he’s fronted since 1997 from a line in The X-Files, but he’s familiar with the apocryphal tale of von Braun.

“Yeah, if I ever see an alien land on the White House lawn, I’m not gonna believe it,” he says, drawing on a big cup of coffee. “Although it looks like they’re tipping towards the environmental apocalypse right now. They found one other move before we get to the UFO thing.”

At 31 years old, Barakat has already crammed a criminology degree, a short stint in the Canadian Forces Army Reserve, a career in social work, and even a bid for mayor of Richmond into his young life. As a naturally political monster and inveterate motor mouth, he turns a 30-minute interview into a hugely entertaining two-hour journey through his mind. Like the bullhorn-wielding conspiracy theorist Alex Jones—for whom he confesses some admiration—the Muslim-raised Barakat isn’t afraid to wade into the muck, making the stark declaration, “9/11 was an inside job” during “Guesswork”, from Threat’s newest album, Bleeding the Dying Elephant.

“I’m impressed that the Harper government gave me a FACTOR grant,” he says with a smirk, about an album that appends Barakat’s left-leaning, socially conscious rap to Threat’s unhurried, live-off-the-floor grooves and signature horns. The endowment—which, strictly speaking, is awarded by a nonprofit foundation that extracts some of its funds from the Department of Canadian Heritage—came just in the nick of time for the outfit, after it made a last-ditch effort to raise its profile with the Stay Fluid EP in 2006.

“Nothing happened,” recalls Barakat. “It fizzled. We’ve been going for nine years, and no one cares. I remember I was at a party, and I thought, ‘You know, Tameem, you’re just a better youth worker than you are a musician. Get over it.’ So I turned to my man [drummer] Dennis [Chan], who was deejaying the party, and I said, ‘Man, I quit.’ ”

The very next day, Barakat received the $20,000 grant.

“Dennis was the first guy I called,” he says with a smile.

Threat reconvened for three months of preproduction, building the new album from the ground up with producer Felix Fung, who would also take an additional credit for his guitar work.

“Felix had such a hand in shaping the sound on this album,” says Barakat. “We were hanging on tight to our roles, and Felix really smashed those old modes of thought. He made a real effort to get us outside ourselves and have us relinquish control, and I loved it. And Felix is a hard cat. I was actually hesitant to work with him because I’ve known Felix for 13 years. He actually came to our first show in ’97, and he was critical from the get-go.”

Capturing the organic sounds of a live band was key to Fung’s approach. Barakat remembers the producer telling him, “Give people the drums. You have a drummer. He’s not an 808, he’s a drummer. Make it sound like drums.”

The results, on tracks like “Worldwide”, recall the hip-hop/rock crossover of the Beastie Boys on Check Your Head, or a sexier, jazzier Rage Against the Machine on “Space Out”. Bearing out the band’s “psychedelic, antipop, bomb-beat, rock and roll, hip-hop” tag, Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention could have been responsible for the dandy horn-section punctuation in “We Like to Fight”. In all cases, Fung’s tones would give the flutters to any analogue-infatuated rocker.

All that was left was Barakat’s contribution. “I was giving all these guys a hard time,” he says. “ ‘You better not fuck this up, there’s a lot of money on the line!’ Then it comes to me, and I have all these excuses. I got writer’s block, I don’t feel well that day, I ate something that disagreed with me. And Felix is yelling at me: ‘You call yourself an MC?’ ”

Barakat came through well enough that he can confidently assert, nine months down the line, “It’s the best album we’ve put out, for sure.” This is a boogie-down uplift of a record that floats the lyricist’s heavier political concerns with warmth, humour, and a deep pocket. Of course, given that Bleeding the Dying Elephant arrives courtesy of a grant system that would never be mistaken for anti-establishment, should we wonder if financing resistance is in fact a way of controlling it?

Barakat chortles at the idea, nodding. “Cap ’em at the knees and give ’em a career?” he muses. “Try me!”

Threat From Outer Space plays the Grandview Legion on Friday (March 7).

for the original article, follow the link: - The Georgia Straight

"Threat From Outer Space"

Bleeding The Dying Elephant
**** 4 stars
By Stefana Fratila - Lord Byng Secondary, Vancouver BC

East Van band gets people up on the dance floor with their blend of rap/funk.

Although Threat From Outer Space has been playing together for over ten years, the band is extremely enthusiastic about their latest release, “Bleeding the Dying Elephant”: “We’re hyped about it and have come up with our best record to date,” raves vocalist Tameem Barakat.

All five members of Threat From Outer Space were born and raised in Vancouver, and they’ve put their decade of live experience into their latest full-length release. A blur of various genres (including funk, jazz, hip hop, and rock), and instruments (including horns), TFOS’s music is as diverse as Vancouver itself.

Lyrically, the album addresses many serious issues, but these issues are set against the backdrop of dance-worthy beats and rhythms. “Writing this album felt really serious, though we had fun because we experimented with different kinds of breath control and flows,” says Tameem.

The band’s James Brown, Outkast and Jimi Hendrix influences (among others) have a definitive effect on their sound. “These artists set a standard we have to live to,” explains Tameem. “It’s terrible when you say you want to try something like Miles Davis and people say, ‘You can’t do that! That’s Miles Davis!’ Really all those people we’re just like everyone else, they got props because they tried to make it fresh.”

With their latest CD release, Threat From Outer Space has a lot to look forward to. They have Canadian and US dates lined up, and possible Japan or UK dates. Their album will be available in stores and online in April and they have an animated music video based on original artwork by Chris Von Szombathy coming up. “We’ve always welcomed change and evolution. That’s why Threat is still growing,” says Tameem. “If anything, it feels like we’re just getting started. In so many ways, the industry is just starting to catch up to us right now. We’ve always been a bit ahead of the pack.”

Here’s hoping we can keep up with Threat From Outer Space as they continue on their musical evolution!

original post here:
- Youthink Magazine

"Listen To This!"

Listen to This!

Tameem Barakat, Ryan Cranston, Dennis Chan, Matt Creed. Photo by Freddy Harder.
'Message Up Front' from Threat From Outer Space.

By Rebecca Keillor
Published: November 9, 2006

A hip-hop group not concerned with having an aggressive, tough stage presence sounds like both a contradiction and a bad performance strategy. But a couple of months ago, I came across six guys with this philosophy, called Threat From Outer Space, at a MAWO (Mobilization Against War and Occupation) protest festival, on Vancouver’s East Side.

Their act was slick, and without stylish outfits or forced confidence. Possibly because MC Tameem Barakat, the group’s frontman, had just received news that non-profit music foundation FACTOR (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings) was loaning them $20,000 to produce their own album. The equivalent of winning the Canadian indie music lottery.

In a refreshing kind of no-strings-attached story, they get complete independent control in doing it (self-signing their own label, Concepticon Records), and need only repay the loan if the album sells successfully.

The tracks on their latest EP, Stay Fluid, suggests they might have to write that cheque. They’re a message-driven band, and Barakat’s lyrics are smart, fast and political. He raps a forceful social commentary (drugs, war, etc), and the importance of staying "fluid" and "dynamic." "Victory w Josh Martinez," for example, calls Bush the Teflon don, because nothing sticks to him, and talks about the young Canadian soldiers who are disillusioned about having to go to Afghanistan.

Their music avoids being all too serious, however, thanks to jazz, funk and blues influences, and its dancability. The lyrics are still clear and audible, layered on top of a heavy brass section (trumpet and saxophone), rhythm (drums, bass) and keys. "We want the bodies to move, but the heads to think," says Barakat.

Follow the original link here: - The Tyee

"A Threat album with a whole lot of Fung"

Producer's influence brings back the simplicity
Tom Harrison, The Province
Published: Friday, March 07, 2008
Want to hear the difference a producer can make?
Listen to the just-released Bleeding the Dying Elephant by Threat From Outer Space and, if you can, compare it to the band's previous record. That long EP sounds scrappy and disorganized by comparison, doesn't it? The new album is more refined, the sound more developed. Both records were produced by Felix Fung, but whereas previously Fung was presented with the band's ideas and half-finished songs and had to work from that, this time he was involved from the beginning.
Fung spoke separately to each band member -- Tameem Barakat, Dennis Chan, Matt Creed, Ryan Cranston and Krystian Naso -- about their parts, developed them in three months of preproduction before going into the studio, and sifted through more of the band's ideas."I just found that it was a good idea to have an outside ear," figures Barakat. "This time Felix was working with us. He said, 'Give the people what they want: Simplicity.'"
Threat From Outer Space listened to him. Out went elaborate intros and extros, or anything that didn't have a point or purpose. The album Fung and Threat have come out with is a merger of hip hop and old-school funk -- modern beat meets classic '70s arrangements.
"I have to give Felix credit for bringing that perspective," Barakat admits. "It was a lot more fun. Everyone in the band had been around a long time and we wanted to do something different. And we felt so blessed to know that we were getting a chance to make an album.
"We argued, sometimes quite vehemently, about what it should be," he continues. "We didn't put limits on ourselves and so we could be quite combative, but at the same time we were doing it out of love."
Threat From Outer Space sometimes brings to mind New Yorkers, Fun Loving Criminals, in the mixing of rock and funk, the old and the new and its insistence on being real rather than synthetic.
"We were kind of surprised when we heard the playback," Barakat says. "Some parts sounded Parliament-influenced. We are a band and we wanted everything to fit in.We wanted something that was not gimmicky. But, yeah, it's a little more old school. With this one, we tried to find out what the core is."
Threat from Outer Space
Where: Grandview Legion, 2205 Commercial Dr.
When: Tonight at 8
Tickets: $12 at the door

© The Vancouver Province 2008

original article here: - The Province Newspaper - Tom Harrison


2008 Bleeding the Dying Elephant

2006 Stay Fluid EP

2003 Walking on the Width of a Blade b/w Appear
and Disappear (12”)

2003 Bomb Beat Music Since 1997 (EP)

2002 Threat From Outer Space (EP)

1999 All Systems Activated (EP)

1997 Threat From Outer Space (cassette only)

Intercessor The Movie (2005)
Circa Presents East Meets West CD (2004)
Rhythm by Kamikaze Films (2003)
The Main Event by Treetop Films (2003)
Third Degree Burns by Treetop Films (2001)
Second Wind 00 by Treetop Films (2000)



Threat From Outer Space
(East Vancouver, 1947)

Late one night, as the rats scurried in the alleys and the missus was sleeping deeply, I heard a noise down the hallway that woke me with a start. I slipped on my robe and followed the noise down the hall, into the study. The air was smoky and the clic clac of an old electric typewriter echoed amongst the oak shelves and old books. There, in my creaky chair, sat Tameem B, brilliant scholar and cultural auteur. Writing a manifesto of the imminent threat that faced our nation, and in fact, the entire world. “What is it?”, I asked.

“There’s no time to explain,” he said. “Take this to the mimeograph, press 10,000 copies, and hit the streets running. The people must know!”
With that, he ripped the paper from the teeth of the typewriter, handed it to me, and slid off slickly into the night. Oh, I tried to tell them…but they just weren’t ready.

Threat From Outer Space, a Vancouver-based 5 piece has evolved over 10 years into being one of Vancouver's most hyped and unwavering live outfits, playing in every venue in its hometown, and crushing the Canadian hinterland with legendary nights to remember. Having criss-crossed the country more than Terry Fox, TFOS have got the grass roots infected like zombies. Their live show is a barn burning dance floor graveyard, the style mash up so groove-ridden, so Friday Night Lights, that there is actually no room for benchwarming. Its game time, baby, and those that sit, get hit.

A decade deep, with music that has always straddled the genre divide, these boys bring the noise with a heavy blurring of hip hop, rock, jazz and funk. Its rock'n'roll with a melodic horn section, rugged breakbeats, razor lyrics and room shaking grooves.

With a past body of work that has always pushed a consciousness and a message based approach, TFOS has refined its handiwork and brought forth their strongest songwriting to date. Threat from Outer Space is real, and it's warbling out of my AM radio speakers even as we speak.