DJ Fluid

Future Tropic

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Various Om artists and producers get their Latin groove on for this Afro-Brazilian-inspired mix CD. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. When it does, it's as vibey and exotic as a foreign art film or a South Beach Miami cocktail lounge. When things go wrong, though, all the Afro-Cuban beats start to blur together and become monotonous. "Huggin n' Kissin" sounds great -- lots of weird effects, funky rhythms, and one great guitar sample. Andy Caldwell's rendition of "Quiet Nights," written by Latin jazz luminary Antonio Carlos Jobim and performed by Caldwell's regular collaborator Gina Rene, is a standout. It proves that even in the most obscure realms of experimental electronica, a beautiful melody can elevate a song from decent to sublime. Sadly, Minus 8's track, "Snowblind," proves that the reverse is also true: The meandering soul diva vox without any discernible melody are quite a turnoff. Gina Rene and Andy Caldwell bring the album to a strong finish, though, this time with the original song "Lovely." It's actually the second-to-last track, but you can skip the bland final offering. Eject the disk after "Lovely" and float away with a samba-esque spring in your step.

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