Various Artists


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Well, Afrotech is a name that might catch on, and it's an apt one for a mix of African music and electronica. The problem, perhaps, is that seven out of the ten tracks here aren't really such a mix, but instead a remix -- not quite the same thing. The whole genre pretty much began with Frederic Galliano remixing cuts from the Cobalt vaults, then working more directly with African artists (he's represented here with "Koutiom"). Of the other non-remixes, Tony Allen, who came to fame with Fela Kuti, has been mixing organic and electronic for a while now, and Mali's Issa Bagayogo has proven to be something of a pioneer in his own country. As for the rest, Ethiopia's Gigi is well served by a light, almost Latin mix, but Baaba Maal's wonderful voice gets swamped by effects and beats. Whether Afrotech really exists as a genre yet, beyond the mind of the remixers, is up for debate. Still, that doesn't detract from the fact that there's plenty of good music here -- the remixes mostly fit the music, rather than the remixers' egos, which makes for a pleasant change -- that flows well and complements the singers, who remain the focus. Not perfect, and trying to name a genre where none really exists smacks of commercialism, but overall this is worth hearing.