Various Artists

Sounds of the Irish Underground

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For those expecting yet another compilation of drunken Irish rebel rock pouring out of the bars of New York, think again. For one thing, this is music that comes from the island of Eire itself, and for another, this ain't no rock & roll schmoe. Here are 12 cuts of steaming, breakneck, messed-up, beat-laden dance tracks from Ireland's underground clubs, where names like U2 and Hothouse Flowers are never uttered, let alone considered as influences. So while it's true that most of us Amerikanskis -- with the exception of only the most tres-hip dance aficionados who use white labels as coasters -- have never heard of any of this music, it has nonetheless flourished without our (or the Limneys) input. There's quite a range here, from the mutant hip-hop and acid house moves of the Dirty Beatniks' "Getting Stupid" to the junglist atmospherics of Synchronic's "Days Go On." There's also the shimmering blue bossa sparkiness of "Gritty Shaker" by the only guy who have heard of here, David Holmes. But even here, and this is a remix, none of his hyperkinetic breakbeat science is evident on this track. The coolest track here, "Maskargo," by Romin, takes the basic riff from Mission Impossible and turns it into a deep industrial house track complete with didgeridoo with Ennio Morricone overtones à la the Sergio Leone Westerns and warps it all back into a pump-up-the-volume-type frenzy. There is some crap here, but it's far outweighed by the good stuff, and since it's all so raw and immediate, it hardly matters anyway. This is one of the few compilations of dance music that actually makes sense.

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