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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde

DEEP FOREST

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published January 25, 2006

Essence Of The Forest
Epic/Legacy

French keyboardists /programmers/producers/arrangers Eric Mouquet and Michael Sanchez brought the lush sounds of the central African rain forest into the clubs with their international smash “Sweet Lullaby” (they also give back, donating proceeds from their work to charities like the Pygmy Fund). That hit has been slightly pumped-up on this best-of, which also includes new versions of “Night Bird” and “Desert Walk,” also from their debut. While keeping to their pristine, atmospheric electronic backing tracks, Deep Forest changed vocal styles with each new album, showcasing the Hungarian Márta Sebestyén on “Marta’s Song” and the powerful Deep South blues singer Beverly Jo Scott on “Yuki Song.” Other highlights on this collection include their rousing performance of “Green And Blue” from Live In Japan, the gently swaying “Deep Weather,” featuring the legendary jazz-fusion keyboardist Joe Zawinul of Weather Report, and Deep Forest’s haunting hit remix of Youssou N’Dour’s “Undecided.” If you’re looking for a good hour-plus of interestingly textured music to chill out to, you can’t do much better than this.