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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Various Artists

Published March 24, 2006

Sanscapes Vol. II: Future Visions of the Bushmen

Some albums are born of spontaneity, others of invention—Sanscapes Vol. II is of the latter. Companion to 2001’s highly successful Vol. I, this new chapter offers further ingenuity at the crossroads of traditional African sounds and studio remixes. A project devoted to preserving the sounds of the Kalahari bushmen (considered to be among the world’s oldest lineages) through digital means, both volumes have presented incredible takes on this shamanistic tribal music. Vol. II features more vocals than the former, most hip-hop melded with R&B-ish hooks. While solid (save the weak rap on the opening “Zet—My Bushmen Peeps”), strength lies in the house and downtempo renderings of the percussive sounds. “Ebomvu—Kalahri Mix” would have made a better intro, smart beat selection against hypnotically enticing synthesizers and programming. U-Cef has a knack for bringing out his Moroccan heritage in seeming off-time, and keeps it moving on “Purple,” and the Mario Cee/Greg Hunter reworking of “Looking Back Gubi!” adds a solid jazz approach segueing into soft breaks. Often times an idea precedes the invention. Fortunately the music on both Sanscapes is as progressive as the thought, danceable as it is reflective.