By: Greg Gargiulo
DJ Logic and Jason Miles haven't merely epitomized the term "world music" with their brainchild Global Noize (Shanachie), but rather redefined what that vague musical classification can encompass. In creating such a diversified mixture, they've set an entirely new bar of what the genre is capable of implying. Blending flavors of funk, jazz, calypso, Afrobeat, reggae and Arabic music, to name a few, the album takes listeners on an auditory odyssey around the entire planet, making stops at notable locales and infusing the native styles with hues of more modern ones like electronica and hip-hop.
Rounding out the remaining core members of Global Noize on top of Miles' keyboards and Logic's turntables, kalimba and Korg Kaoss Pad are saxophonist/flutist Karl Denson, Medeski, Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin and percussionist Cyro Baptista. But the cast of characters doesn't stop at the core. The span of additional guests includes Bernie Worrell, John Popper, guitarist Vernon Reid, jazz musician Christian Scott and acclaimed tabla player Suphala.
"Spice Island" opens sounding much like a hip-hop number out of Logic's catalogue, but quickly transitions and builds: first with the inclusion of Worrell's organ/clavinet, then the addition of steel drums, turning it into more of a jazzy, spacey, tropical boogie. A number of other tracks possess the same type of evolving nature, starting one way then subtly shifting into something else, then either returning to the origin or finishing off altogether differently. "Spin Cycle" has an intro that gives it the guise of a seemingly straightforward rock & roll piece that also features Logic's scratches at front and center. Bar after bar, however, as the woodwinds and later the brass take over the lead, it becomes a splendid modern jazz assortment, with the drums remaining constant and scratches taking a backseat.
Karl Denson alternates from saxophone to flute, sometimes overlaying both simultaneously, to power "Planetary Beat," supported further by a funky bassline and some animated helpings from Miles on keys. "Bollyhood," with its delicately dreamy vocals by Falu, can pass for either the backbeat of a Brazilian capoeira session or an early attempt at Indian rap. Whichever the case, though brief, the exotic track can easily move those stationary while listening. "What I Know" is less structured and more whimsical than most others on the LP but still nonetheless brilliant. A mechanical beat lays the groundwork for Logic's swapping of his ones and twos for a kalimba - a small, metallic African sound box that sounds like a jaw harp - plus intermittent pianos, random flutes and soothing spoken word by Aline Racine. "Exotic Thoughts" ascends and descends to the pace of Scott's trumpeting, textured more so by the rapid tablas and tingling wah-wah guitar licks, making it yet another song with a nationalistic identity crisis that one couldn't be more content with.
JamBase | Worldwide
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