Unitone World Sampler, Vol. 1: An Electronic World

Various Artists

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Unitone World Sampler, Vol. 1: An Electronic World Review

by Rick Anderson

The material on this teaser compilation is drawn from four discs scheduled for release over the course of 2001, each of them licensed from the European Law & Auder label and all planned for issuance under Unitone's Unitone World imprint. Don't be deceived -- this isn't "world music" in the sense you might have come to expect. While there are exotic elements in the mix (ethnic percussion, modal free-reed keening, melismatic winds and voices), the governing principle is one of gentle, slightly jazzy, and occasionally eerie drum'n'bass experimentalism. "20 Camels," by Friends, Lovers & Family, seems to draw equally on North African plucked strings and a faint whiff of didgeridoo, while keeping everything anchored to a solid bed of swinging, mid-tempo funk; Fluid's "Crashed" goes for a more abstract groove, blending wordless monastic vocals with the sound of a hard drive being devoured by insects and a multitude of floor toms; Wheel's "Kayagumbo" sounds kind of like a funkier outtake from Bill Laswell's Hear No Evil. For those with only a passing interest in the fringier elements of drum'n'bass and IDM, this compilation will probably suffice, but adepts will want to watch for the albums.

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