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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Songlines - Top of the World 80

Another month goes by and another Songlines compilation goes on the car stereo. I've got such a back log that I've yet to renew my subscription to the magazine, but rest assured that I'll get round to it in the near future. Top of the World 80 is a game of two halves, but as always provides something interesting and new from the World Music coffers.

The first ten tracks are possibly the best Songlines compilation I've listened to. The songs are a joyous mix of global rhythms and multicultural voices, with Amira's beautiful and hypnotic 'Zemi Me Zemi', Kiran Ahluwalia's textbook eastern chanting, yodelling and wailing on 'Mustt Musst' and Lucas Santtana's instrumetal 'Super Violao Mashup', all proving to be welcome additions to my collection of world music anthems. Best of all is the clicky, clappy, and rhythmically complex 'Tango de Nilo' from Ali Khattab which I could listen to for hours on end, and proves once and for all to the cynical South Yorkshire masses that clapping is not just for Christians.

Sadly the compilation goes downhill with the five selections from the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart which prove to be the worst selections ever by any of the guest pickers. A whole album of his selections could put you off world music for life. They're all very minimal and rely of repetitive beats, with 'Jayan Tangis' sounding like people banging tree trunks, which sounds promising, but they carry on banging tree trunks for over seven minutes.

It's the first hint of negativity in any of my Songlines reviews which reflects the quality that they offer on a monthly basis, but any future involvement of the Grateful Dead should be avoided at all costs.

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