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World Music CD Reviews Electronica


By Derek Beres
Published June 27, 2006

Luaka Bop Remixed
Luaka Bop

Give credit to David Byrne’s label for actively promoting reworkings of his various artists, by musicians well versed in electronic tinkering. Few on the label create pure dancefloor tracks, so this 14-song collection shifts focus to the work of a wide array of remixers from Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and the U.S. The Macao remix of Los De Abajo’s “El Indio” offers a user-friendly bassline and consistent groove (without detracting from the original’s scatterbrained brilliance). Koop takes Peruvian diva Susana Baca’s “Afro Blue,” already an interesting choice, and gives it a further twist, contrasting her soft vocals against their arsenal of downtempo jazz beats. The performers best served by their remixers are Brooklyn’s Si*Se (a house remix of “The Rain [Where Do I Begin?]” by the Funky Lowlives) and Zap Mama, whose “Bandy Bandy” is a gorgeous R&B cut featuring Erykah Badu, here retooled by Carl Craig. On the former, Carol C.’s soft seduction gets an uplifting kick—literally. Craig’s track is close kin to his work with Cape Verdean vocalist Cesaria Evora. He must have a penchant for Afro-based folklorists.