Gabrielle Roth & the Mirrors

Totem

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Totem, with its focus on trance-dance, broke new ground by bringing drumming out of the ethnic bins and into new age. "Zone VI" begins the album with a hypnotic balance of bass toms played by Robert Ansell, the fancy drumwork by Gordy Ryan, clicks of woodblocks, and a synthesizer drone. The title cut is a serpentine experience which breathes through its undulating bass beats; layers of Middle Eastern rhythms give the dancer many intoxicating paths for movement. Throughout, the rhythms speak -- stately and zenlike to tumbling and swirling -- enticing movement The album ends with the melodically hip "Eliana" and (lest you forget you can dance with a partner) the cha-cha flavored "La Cancion de Manuel," both propelled by the funky bass of Alex Blake.

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