Various Artists

Cuisine Non-Stop: Introduction to the French Nouvelle Generation

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Over the decade prior to this record's release, there was a musical movement in France that finally began to break through from the underground. Although there's little cohesion to the bands involved, they all seem to share a vision of this multicultural France, while also acknowledging the history of musette and chanson and ignoring the rather embarrassing attempts at French rock & roll -- as if the period between Brel and Mano Negra had never existed, except for the hugely influential Serge Gainsbourg. And so there's Lo' Jo, who brings together the music of North and West Africa with gypsy and French sounds; or Java, with a unique, idiosyncratic take on rap; and the whiskey-stung voice of Arthur H, his words continuing as the tracks descend into dub and back again. There's such an intriguing variety of music, and not everything will be for everyone, but there will be enough to capture the mind of everyone, be it the lo-fi resonance of Mickey 3D or the strictly bizarre sampling of Ignatus. Given that the vast majority of this work is totally unknown outside France -- and barely even there -- this album provides a vital service, illuminating some brilliant music.

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