Various Artists

Unitone World Sampler, Vol. 1: An Electronic World

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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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