Back to Mine

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Lamb's Andy Barlow gets the nod for the 18th (!) volume of the Back to Mine mix series, and it's another meticulously chosen, often intriguing set. For this one, the mood elevator is a Connect Four game going up, down, and diagonal. "Voodoo Sessions," the subtitle, is apt -- beginning with Martina Topley-Bird's always eerie vocal (what year is it? 1919? 3019?), Barlow ripples through an old African Head Charge track before settling into the boa constricting New Orleans boogie of Dr. John's take on "I Walk On Guilded Splinters." That track might stick around a bit too long for this early in the mix, but Barlow recovers by seguing via chants and handclaps into the sultry silk and flutes of Nina Simone's "See Line Woman." Watch out behind you, it's Geoffrey Holder from Live and Let Die! Nitin Sawhney's rapidly accelerating "Prophecy" seems to work better in the context of Back to Mine than it did on his 2001 effort of the same name, since it's an effective setup for the electronic/traditional hybrids of Hipoptimist (aka Barlow himself) and Hefner (remixing a traditional from Omar Faruk Tekbilek). The set shifts gears for a big finish with Chris Thomas King's "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues," taken from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. It's interesting to hear Barlow try mixing its introspective acoustic blues into the absolutely insane Alpha Centauri dancehall of Bug/Kevin Martin's "Killer." Believe it: it works. Barlow's liner notations for Back to Mine are insightful and often funny, and his song choices are certainly inspired. It makes for another strong entry in the long-running series.

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