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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Bill Murphy
Published January 20, 2006

PALM BEATS: VOLUME ONE
Palm Pictures

As the language of the DJ continues to exert its influence on all styles of music, Palm Pictures aims to further the cause with this gear-shifting collection of dub, house and ethno-tronic tracks from the label’s back catalog, which includes artists as diverse as Brazilian fusionists Da Lata, Senegalese singer Baaba Maal and Mexican nortec (norteño/techno) godfather Bostich. Part of the appeal of a comp like this lies in its “newness” factor, and although some of the cuts here (notably Sly and Robbie’s throb-heavy “Capone Theme” and film composer Jolly Mukherjee’s lushly flowing “Bhatyali,” remixed for the Asian funk masses on 2000’s Fusebox album) have been kicking around for a few years, they still manage to sound slightly ahead of their time. Most surprising among the remix crop is the presence of Jamaican studio legend Paul “Groucho” Smykle (credited here as Quantum Dub Force), who probes the future with a hypnotic dub of Sidestepper’s “Linda Manigua”. On the down side, U.K. house producer Phil Asher’s thin club treatment of Gigi’s “Gud Fella” strips the buoyant mood—and  many of the Ethiopian chanteuse’s key vocal melodies—from the superior Bill Laswell-produced original.