Various Artists

Sanscapes One: Bushmen of the Kalahari Remixes

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There's worldbeat -- and then there's worldbeat. The countries whose traditions are drawn upon for this ambitious musical hodgepodge include Namibia, Tunisia, South Africa, and France (as well as the U.K. and the U.S.A.), and the musical styles under which music-store clerks are advised to file this album include electronica, ambient, "San healing trance," and "clapping." Look to the packaging for additional guidance and you come up empty: there's nothing there but the titles of the tracks and the names of the artists -- and sometimes it's pretty hard to tell which is which. Take a deep breath and dive in, though, and you'll be treated to a heady stew of ingredients both ancient and modern, all of it spiced up with body-rocking breakbeats and thudding house rhythms. Animal Radio's "Kalamari Warriors (Squiddly Mix)" juxtaposes multi-tracked samples of what is either singsongy African speech or fairly declamatory African singing with several layers of acoustic guitar, electric bass, and a galumphing techno beat; Gambit's "Tribal Chess" is a strange cross between trance and drum'n'bass with field recordings of traditional singing woven into the mix; "Celebration Mix" by Soul Drummers does something quite similar with very different results -- sort of the same way a kaleidoscope always repeats the same elements but in a different way every time. Highly recommended.

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