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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

VARIOUS ARTISTS



By TOM JACKSON
Published May 31, 2006

TRAVELLER ‘03
Six Degrees

There’s a whiff of hotel buffet in any “world” collection. If you plonk chili lobster on your plate next to patatas bravas and an onion bhaji the results can end up somewhat indigestible. This particular platter steers a path to just the right side of air-conditioned heartburn. It is effectively a label sampler for San Francisco outfit Six Degrees, the cuts unified by their modern, groovy “world electronica” flavor. The pick of the menu comes from new duo Shrift—“Airlock!” is a tumbling, kinetic slab of world-shaped bigbeat featuring great cut-up bossa samples, a wild Hammond organ and heart-on-sleeve vocals from former Smoke City vocalist Nina Miranda. It manages to evoke sunny days swimming beautifully out of control. Less blessed in the charm department are Ben Neill’s VW ad-inspired “Bugfunk,” and Bob Holroyd’s grimly repetitive “Rafiki.” Asian contributions from New Delhi’s MIDIval PunditZ and the increasingly ubiquitous Karsh Kale are as reliably confident and attractive as we have come to expect. A mixed bag, but that’s the point.