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World Music CD Reviews Electronica

BABAZULA

By Derek Beres
Published June 27, 2006

Double Oryantal
Doublemoon

Where Jamaica and Turkey intersect in paranoid, percussive frenzy, 20-person Babazula reigns. The core of this outfit is comprised of accomplished sax, clarinet, dumbek and def players; throw in a Theremin, samplers, finger cymbals and bird sounds (along with car brakes and creaking doors), and you quickly sense playfulness abounds. Unfortunately play doesn’t always work. Like Psyche-Belly Dance Music, a few needles exist in the haystack. Rejoining them is reggae legend Mad Professor (along with Sly and Robbie’s debut), Jamaican influence stronger in bass, guitar and percussion. To combat efficient instrumentals, various singers create a comedic symphony that, while lighthearted and fun, also provides their detriment. The clarinet on “Ozgur Ruh” is excellent; second the guitar on “Pirasa.” Nearly every song has solid elements; somehow, though, the band throws in something equally annoying. The record reminds one of an Oriental Mr. Bungle ­schizophrenically talented to the point straight-forward songs are too trite. In the scramble to be as out there as possible, they forget music starts in here.