Various Artists

In the Mix

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CyberOctave is part of the Higher Octave group, a family of labels generally devoted to a sort of technologically informed, upscale new age music. CyberOctave's slice of that particular pie is the more beat-heavy, electronic area, and with this compilation it is making an explicit bid for entry into the "European house music scene." Thus we have dance remixes of tracks by artists as varied as Craig Chaquico (formerly of Jefferson Starship), 3rd Force, and Shahin & Sepehr, all of them featuring hip-hop and house beats and assorted found sounds, bleepy synth lines, and vocal samples. The problem is that in almost every case, the music's bid for dancehall heaviosity is undermined by incursions of Muzak. 3rd Force's "It's Hypnotizing" is typical: it bumps along promisingly for a little while until a goopy saxophone pushes it off into smooth jazz territory; "The Gift," also by 3rd Force, flirts tantalizingly with bhangra before collapsing into a safe, cloying jazz-fusion groove. Chaquico gets off to a good start with a muscular house beat on "Native Tongue," but when the guitar comes in you'd suddenly swear you were listening to a Larry Carlton album. 3rd Force do manage to redeem themselves somewhat with "Something Is Happening," which is based on a surprisingly funky 12/8 beat, but that track is an exception. Most of it could be filed under "Dance Music for People Who Hate Dance Music."

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