Various Artists

Door to the Soul

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A collection of music based on the history and future of Europe's Po Na Na Moroccan-themed clubs and bars. The basic concept is to provide a comprehensive collection of "global dance music," encompassing any number of styles as seen fit. The two-disc set is broken stylistically into the past and the future, with the first disc tracing the musical history of the clubs, and the second disc showcasing some of the up-and-coming house acts and such. The album starts out with a jazzy bit from Patricia Barber, and is followed by three forms of reggae, from the Ivory Coast's Alpha Blondy, Britain's Aswad, and Jamaica's Barrington Levy. Manu Chao makes an appearance, as does vibraphonist Dave Pike, with a sitar-laden bit of hipster fusion. The outstanding Rachid Taha's "Ya Rayah" precedes Buena Vista bassist Cachaito Lopez, with a thick boombox beat lying over his careful bassline. Bits of rap and hip-hop are presented from the Cuban Orishas, Chicano Kid Frost, the British Beatmasters, and America's famous Jungle Brothers. Some up-to-date bossa nova from João Gilberto's daughter follows, followed by a James Brown-Marva Whitney duet and then a Sergio Mendes number which closes the first disc. Some jazzy house opens up the second disc, with Matthew Herbert's "The Audience." New Yorkers Erro provide a track of house, and Faze Action submits a dub-esque remix of Femi Kuti's new addition to the Afro-beat archives, "Do Your Best." Parisian Africanism provides some soukous-based dance, and Salomé De Bahia provides a Brazilian-based club piece to follow. An old Masters At Work club anthem gets a reworking into a carnival form, and Sonique's club hit "It Feels So Good" makes the transition to the full fledged club-beat piece by Jon Cutler. The Kings of Tomorrow present "Finally," and the album finishes with the semi-unknown Petalpusher's laid-back and jazzy "Rely on Me." Throughout the album, there's an extraordinarily varied run through a number of styles, from jazz to reggae to rai to house, and all points in between. For someone looking for a single style of any sort, this album probably isn't the way to go. Then again, the whole point of the album is to showcase as much music as possible, mostly derived from the dancefloor. For a nice romp through all these genres, the album does an outstanding job. Pick it up for a listen or two: dance-club-haters beware.

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