Voices Have Eyes

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Andrew McPherson's second album under the name Eccodek prominently features several top-notch vocalists from a variety of world music traditions, as well as a generous helping of McPherson's densely layered polyethnic instrumental funk. There's nothing overly earnest or pious about his approach to musical multiculturalism -- Eccodek's music is pure joy and fun, sometimes infused with an almost mystical sense of wonder. He seems to have a particular affinity for the female voice, and the guest appearance by Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia ("Heart's Desire Dub," presented here in two mixes) creates the album's clear high point. But he also provides rich and sympathetic environments for the Malian singer and kora player Mansa Sissoko (whose "Words with the Griot" is a close runner-up for best song on the album) and Rwandan vocalist Ignace Ntirushwamaboko. Everywhere the groove is dubby and warm, and if at times it edges just a little bit too close to the new age/smooth jazz line (as on the slightly mushy "Set Sweet No Worries"), it never tips all the way over into goopiness. The album closes with a generous handful of bonus remixes, three of them ambient treatments that leave you floating in an warm bath of arrhythmic pleasure. Very nice.

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