Six Degrees 100

Various Artists

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Six Degrees 100 Review

by Adam Greenberg

To celebrate their hundredth album release, the folks at Six Degrees put together a general compilation of their best-selling tracks. The culture span is outstanding, but the focus is always on the dance (as one would expect from Six Degrees). The album opens with a catchy commercial jingle for acoustic guitar and synths, then steps seamlessly into Wally Brill's fusion of Jewish cantorial with electronica, and a North African-based piece from label star DJ Cheb I Sabbah. Bob Holroyd contributes a bit of tribal electronica, and Issa Bagayogo contributes a beautiful piece of electronic tribal music (that is, the music is more traditional with aspects of electronica, while Holroyd is electronica with aspects of tribal sound). Following up on these mixes of the old and new, a sweet bit of more contemporary work comes from the late great Suba, with vocals from Cibelle, followed immediately by a piece from Bobi Cespedes' album, thoroughly scratched over by the X-Ecutioners' Rob Swift. Quiet, political hip-hop follows, breaking the flow a bit, but allowing for a slowdown in time for the current bearer of the Gilberto torch to show off some very slick bossa. Some drum 'n' bass-influenced work starts the tempo upward again, in time for a mix of deep house and Latin jazz with a touch of Chucho Valdes on the piano to boot. The cross-cultural prodigies MIDIval PunditZ take a swing at updated bhangra with a track that starts out light, but builds into some deeper electronica as it progresses, which suits the progression well as it leads into a more thumping bit from Banco de Gaia, eventually leading into the album finale, a nice piece of essentially ambient music with a good Indian bent, aided additionally by Zakir Hussain on tabla. Overall, the album doesn't necessarily have any specific highlights, but instead tries to make a nice smooth series of sounds that fit together well and simultaneously show off what the label has to offer. What it has to offer, in fact, is a nice round of grooves, both ambient and danceable.

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