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World Music CD Reviews Europe

DIGITAL BLED

By William Bloomhuff
Published March 3, 2006

Caravana
Tinder Records

Paris-based DJ Pedro surrounds himself with creative folks from Brazil, the West Indies and Morocco on this above average collection of hip/trip-hop funk and dub, making up the Digital Bled Caravan. The disc is worth a listen if only for the prayer-for-rain vocal samples over the beguiling dumbek rhythm on "Encantadore" and the funked-up Gnawa groove of "Batuquente," with the raging shrill of the muzmar reed. Indian singer Najima is often sampled delicately here to great effect. This disc also provides a rare chance to hear a Brazilian berimbau laced with a Tuareg singer and an Egyptian ney flute. Tablas compete for sonic supremacy with the sinister slicing of the sarangi on "Dub Do Pardal Maluco," its dub essence punctuated by a ska horn break and Bhangra dhol drums.