Transglobal Underground

Dream of 100 Nations

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In the aftermath of Transglobal Underground's pioneering blend of electronic dance music and worldbeat, seemingly hundreds of imitators have bled this fusion dry. This doesn't take away from the brilliance of their debut, Dream of 100 Nations, a sometimes dizzying and often exciting melding of hot-footed dance beats, trippy dub, block-rocking hip-hop, and, most importantly, an intelligent and nuanced integration of this Western pop with various Asian and African musical forms. The exotic instrumentation is incorporated carefully into the beats; as often as not, the tablas, ouds, and other unique instruments are used strictly as rhythm, mixed into tracks like the head-spinning "Shimmer" no more obtrusively than a set of electronic drums or a clavinet. The focus throughout is on Natacha Atlas' muscular vocals; Atlas has one of the most powerful voices in '90s dance rock, making Dream of 100 Nations a compelling listen even without the worldbeat influences.

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