Jah Wobble

Heaven and Earth

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    9
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Fusing Eastern and Western classical influences with elements of ambient, dub, and hip-hop, Jah Wobble has created a truly brilliant pancultural concept album. The title track opens the LP with a near-orchestral range of dynamic emotions centered around Zi Lan Liao's vocals and violin, Kui Hsuing Li's soaring bamboo flute, and Wobble's percolating tribal drums. "A Love Song" is a hypnotic dub track showcasing the vocal talents of Natacha Atlas, whose Middle Eastern melody lends a sultry feel to the song, perfectly matched by the sensual bassline. Bill Laswell lends his distinctive touch on "Gone to Croatan" and "Hit Me," which perfectly match the hip-hop beats and turntable wizardry provided by DJs DXT and Rob Swift, with Pharoah Sanders' mind-bending flute and horn solos and Bernie Worrell's synth textures. But the pièce de résistance is "Om Namah Shiva," which combines Najma Akhtar's nimble vocal calisthenics and Inder Matharu's dazzling tabla rhythms with programmed percussion and Wobble's bottom-end bass wallop to create a highly effective world/dance track. Laswell himself calls Heaven and Earth "the best thing Jah Wobble has ever recorded." Who are we to argue?

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