Various Artists

Traveler '02

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The Six Degrees label's Traveler series has offered some of the most interesting and exciting dance music exotica on the market. While most of the Traveler discs focus on specific geographical and cultural areas, Traveler '02 is the second in a more broadly globe-trotting subseries, one which draws from musical traditions of Cuba, Mali, India, and South Africa, as well as various British and North American dance music styles. The album's hands-down high point is Karsh Kale's brilliant "Jah Has Kool Girl," which combines jungly drum loops and tweaked electronic percussion with heavily processed French vocals, tabla, and bansuri; other notable tracks include DJ Cheb i Sabbah's electronic overhaul of the devotional "Gulshan Paak" and Issa Bagayogo's rocking "Dama." The only slightly disappointing moment is Michael Franti and Spearhead's relatively uninspired jazzy trip-hop remix of "Stay Human." Highly recommended overall.

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