Various Artists

The ObliqSound Sampler

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This is a sampler of initial offerings from Michele Locatelli and Ralf Schmid's Obliqsound, a label that seeks a new fusion of jazz, electronica, and world music. The four tracks from the "vocal series" are a mixed bag. There's not much to Renovation Unlimited's beats-and-strings version of "Summertime," but the beguiling harmonies of Carla Gehl's "Dream Song" get the ball rolling. "Felise," an energetic number featuring the deep-pitched vocals of Tama, is the clear standout. Valerie Troutt's groovily mysterious "Nile," featuring some members of Me'Shell NdegéOcello's crew, is also exceptional. The two remaining tracks are drawn from the label's instrumental series. They are Flügelschlag's "Mendiani," an African-influenced work for three prepared pianos, followed by a beautiful rendition of Ralph Towner's "Beneath an Evening Sky" by the Aisha Duo (Andrea Dulbecco, vibes; Luca Gusella, marimba). Overall, it's an interesting and timely concept: ethereal ECM jazz meets the mellower side of DJ culture.

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