Various Artists

Arabica [Bar de Lune]

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Despite starting weakly with the wishy-washy ethnicity of Rachid Taha, the first in Francis Peyrat's sub-continental selections proved to be the most effective -- Transglobal Underground successfully snatching back Taha's dropped baton with the wonderful "Pomegranate," resetting the pace for an album resplendent in North African splendor. The aural equivalent of a Moroccan street market, where lashings of authentic Arabian beats fight for space among more contemporary offerings from the likes of dZihan & Kamien, Pressure Drop, and Bar De Lune regulars Christophe Goze, Radar, and Al-pha-X. Both Digital Bled and Omar Faruk Tekbilek trip the highlight meter, the former with an emotive acoustic guitar piece and the latter with the stunningly powerful "Shashkin," which conjures a muezzins call from the flames with a snake charmer's pungi before breaking loose with an awesome bassline. World music for the less adventurous stereo.

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