The Rough Guide To Global Dance is one of the first compilations to cover the massive and far-reaching developments in electronic-based dance music. Compiled by Pete Lawrence of the Big Chill, this is a new territory for the Rough Guide music series, leaving behind the traditional and delving deep into the global dance phenomenon. The selection highlights the wide variety of disparate and merging sounds, influences and local customs, which come together to form a new universal language.
The opening track chosen for its energy and passion comes from Paris based Tunisian artist Smadj, who seeks to find the ‘balance between two worlds, two cultures, two sounds’. Using drum ‘n’ bass and analogue sounds, such as the oud, he is a revelation in the world of fusion. Next up, unusual to find that a group of Germans would be at the forefront of a new wave of Brazilian nu-jazz fusion, but this is precisely where you’ll find Jazzanova. They represent the cutting edge of world music at present, taking midi music to new levels.
Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen has been at the frontline in the current interest in Afro-beat, with the material featured here matching the powerful musical force of his previous masterpieces, in which he constructed the basic ingredient of Afro-beat with his own four limbs. Following on from Allen and staying with the African flavour comes Frédéric Galliano, who has a passion for all things African, and crafts the best aspects of more traditional global sounds for dancefloor consumption. Achieving considerable success with their current album and tour, Sidestepper provide us with their interaction between the Colombian melody, and the breaks and sub-bass on a killer track. A pioneer of the latest in the new wave of Brazilian beats is Suba. He has mixed breaks with traditional sounds, and contributed to other groundbreaking Brazilian releases, including that of Bebel Gilberto.
For those who need their fix of Asian influenced tracks, Nation Records provide the hit, with TJ Rehmi weaving his spell of enchantment with this breakbeat-fused track, whilst Tosca from Austria and Idiot Savant, from Denmark, conjure up jazzy grooves. Montefiori Cocktail provide us with a version of ‘Gypsy Woman’, exuberant batucada, high on humour and low on attitude. Also featuring on the album is a track from one of the most influential musicians of the bossa nova period, Marcos Valle. Currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity, Valle moves seamlessly between funk, samba, soul, jazz and rock, to give us the real deal. Finally Jephté Guillaume rounds up the compilation with the rediscovery of the spiritual dimension, stripped down and glorious.
With the wide variety of different sounds and ideas being implemented into both traditional and electronic-based dance music, the scope for this constantly emerging fusion is almost limitless. The Rough Guide To Global Dance will provide a comprehensive journey into the world of global fusion.