Various Artists

Groove Anthology: Kaleidoscopic Beats

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Even while this compilation centers on a unified feeling -- a mostly calm aura spiced with a bit of kinetic rhythm and plenty of glistening ornamentation -- it also manages to thankfully bring a surprising amount of variety to the table as well. In short, everything here can be classified as down-tempo music, most of it involving ambient breakbeats and some sort of vocals. Yet as standard as that description may sound, this features a little bit of everything, from drum'n'bass (Hidden Agenda's "Vindication") to sunny yet smoked-out dub-reggae (Tikiman and Yoshino's "Gwaan So") to blissed-out hip-hop (Nextman's "My Way"). And there are even a few delightful surprises, such as Flying Saucer Attack's "She Is the Daylight," an ambient guitar-driven piece that, though a bit out of place, is no doubt an album highlight. For the most part, the best songs here are those produced by the more well-known artists such as DJ Food, Rae & Christian, and the aforementioned artists. And while there are few lackluster moments here and the album can admittedly drag a bit at times due to its sedate pace, that's simply the nature of this music. Otherwise, the album's wide range of styles is perhaps the only criticism worth noting, though this also happens to be one of the album's strengths, so even this may be a trivial point as well.

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