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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

DJ MAURO BRUNO & M. O. A. M.

By TOM TERRELL
Published April 19, 2006

La Bodega Lounge
Mondo Rhythmica

Way back in the late ’90s, so-called “chill-out” albums were hip. Originally created to soothe the chemical-savaged raver, these DJ comps of spaced-out electronica were refreshingly “underground.” In 1999, DJ Claude Challe’s Buddha Bar changed the game. Challe’s mellow blend of house, world and electronica trance/dance grooves became a dollar-clocking, yuppie-marketing concept. Four years on, the joint is lousy with mediocre “brand” collections. The new La Bodega Lounge compilation is not one of them. 10 contemporary Arabic pop tunes rearranged/remixed by DJ Mauro Bruno and M.O.A.M., La Bodega Lounge purports to be “the first Arabic chill-out experience.” Dunno about that “first Arabic” part, but La Bodega is most definitely a primo chill-out experience. What Bruno and M.O.A.M. have done here is deceptively simple: match original male/female vocals with fresh, emotionally/rhythmically catalytic, multi-culti groove tracks. The result—Amr Diab’s lush, Beatles/Massive Attack-vibing “Baed El Layelley,” Samira Saeed’s heady disco hustling, power chording, wail fests (“Youm Wara Youm,” “Men Youmi”), Mohammed Mounir’s airy, oud/sitar/flute/trip-hop-swaying instrumental “Madad”—is mad fresh head/body illbient music that’s Arab-Indo “real” and universally “down.”