Various Artists

El Condor Pasa: Flute of the Andes

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This is presumably a discount-level album, and a relatively disappointing one at that. The disc sells itself as covering the "flute of the Andes." What it doesn't tell the listener is that the Andean flutes are actually replicas played out on a synthesizer, along with a drum machine, and turned into blatant elevator-style new age music. Realistically, very little on the album is traditional Andean music. The closest that comes is "El Condor Pasa" itself, which was actually written in the 20th century by Robles to sound similar to Andean traditional music. Also appearing in this album of ambient noise are works from other notables. The patron saint of world music in the U.S., Paul Simon's "Sounds of Silence" is unfortunately taken by the people behind the electronics on the album. So is Mozart's "Symphony No. 40," although it's unmeritoriously made into a dance anthem -- complete with a throbbing drum machine bassline and a breakbeat. As far as the genre that's really represented on the album goes (that is, somewhere between new age and elevator music), it's not that bad of a set at all. The problem is that in the traditions that it markets itself as, the album fails miserably. Andean folk music never had a synthesizer to play with. Less so did Mozart.

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