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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

NATACHA ATLAS

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published September 22, 2005

The Best Of Natacha Atlas
Mantra

The ex-member of Transglobal Underground who’s known for combining Middle Eastern and European music with electronica had a say in putting together this retrospective compilation. Rather than simply choosing some popular tracks from her five previous albums, which date from the last 10 years, Natacha Atlas took a different approach. Nine of the 16 tracks are newly mixed or edited and a few also have new vocals. One song, the Bond theme “You Only Live Twice,” isn’t on any previous album. Two tracks taken directly from her previous albums are Françoise Hardy’s “Mon Amie la Rose,” a big hit in France, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You.” The version of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” has been slightly edited. Three very different versions of “Leysh Nat-Arak” are offered while a live version of “Moustahil” from the Halim album is a hidden track. The Best Of may not be indispensable to fans who have all of the singer’s previous albums but there are nonetheless enough fresh new tracks on this compilation to justify its acquisition.