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World Music CD Reviews Electronica

DJ Cheb I Sabbah

Published May 5, 2006

As Far As
Six Degrees

Turntables On The Hudson 4
Giant Step

World Peace
Stoned Asia/Kickin’ Music

The circularity of music is astounding. Music-as-big-business is less than a century old, though humans have been creating sound since inception. During that time we’ve made gods/goddesses out of singular humans destined to be household names. Yet some of today’s top-selling albums are compilations, hinting at the idea that community is more enjoyable than any one person’s creation. Birthed in three metropolises—San Francisco, New York and London—the following DJ collections are this summer’s perfect triad, fusing the best global sounds this shrinking planet has to offer.


After the success of his South Asian trilogy, Cheb i Sabbah expands his palate to include Africa, Asia and Arabia with As Far As. This Algerian-native-turned-Bay-Area-DJ-turned-India-fanatic has been a tireless ambassador in promoting international music since his early turntable days spinning UNESCO vinyl in 1965 Paris. This collection features classics new and old, roving hardbeat drum ’n’ bass (Solace’s “Saptak: The Samaya Mix”) between anarchic political theory a la spoken word (ADF’s “Colour Line”) between hallucinogenic drones (Paul Horn’s “Agra, The Emerald Mix”) between…well, moving Middle East we encounter serious get-your-war-on dancefloor action. Natacha Atlas and Toires warm up Gnawa Impulse, an impressive segue into Africa where the Trilok Gurtu/Salif Keita Afropop collaboration of “Have We Lost Our Dream?” is a stunning crescendo in this hill-and-valley cross-continental journey.


Taking a different approach, Giant Step resident DJs Nickodemus and Mariano explore the world through the diverse boroughs of their beloved NYC. Turntables On The Hudson 4, also the name of their infamous booty-shakin’ parties (sans 4, that’s just keeping count), goes Brooklyn to El Barrio without hitch. This house collection seamlessly mixed is a celebration itself, showcasing the city’