World Standard

Country Gazette

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Here's a wacko idea; techno-ambient-country-fusion, and what's really wacko about it is just how well it works. Banjo, samisen and sampled sounds collide effortlessly and with delightful results on this East-meets-West disc. Produced by Haruomi Hosono from Yellow Magic Orchestra (billed as "Harry Hosono"), World Standard creates a type of ethnic music much like The Penguin Cafe Orchestra did; belonging to no country and every country at once.

While much of this disc is comprised of gentle, pastoral instrumentals (such as the irresistible, "Loving Spoonful") some of it is haunting and downright bizarre. On "Old Man Blues," a repetitive, minor key guitar figure is punctuated by a sample of a voice, harsh, hissing and unintelligible. Track 13 is essentially nine minutes of barely audible thunder, and as for track 14...well, if you've ever wanted to hear a droll reading of some Hank Williams lyrics in a Japanese accent, here it is. It's been said that no two cultures differ more from each other than those of Japan and America. World Standard reconciles them happily. Yellow Magic indeed.

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