Little Louie Vega

Elements of Life: Extensions

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Louie Vega's Elements of Life album was a fun and funky excursion into a broad range of variations on modern international club music, incorporating everything from salsa and soca to bossa nova and Afro-jazz, and bringing in singers who performed in English, French, Yoruba, Spanish, and more. Elements of Life: Extensions is the inevitable remix project, one that features tracks from the original album in sometimes radically different versions mixed by such dancefloor notables as DJ Spinna, Jazzy Jeff, Joe Claussell, and even Masters at Work (the duo in which Vega does most of his production and DJ work). Maudlin and sentimental lyrics continue to mar both "Sunshine" and the rhythmically pedestrian "Let the Children Play" ("Let them heal the world with the way we feel when they play," etc.), but the jazz-meets-soca bump of "Cerca de Mi" and the exuberantly funky "Nos Vida" more than make up for those soggy interludes, and the House of Rhumba cameo on "Steel Congo" ends the album with a pleasing bang. Recommended.

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