United Future Organization Bon Voyage

This Japan-based trio of DJs/sampling-songwriters are celebrating their tenth anniversary with the North American release of Bon Voyage - a career built upon nothing but a brilliant penchant for synthesising elements of the funky, the eclectic and the humorous from a crate of old records. Bon Voyage is another chapter in UFO's history of eccentric productions. But where Jazzin' was more or less a re-exploration into modern and cocktail jazz, and The Third Perspective a revival of the '60s spy-soundtrack form, Bon Voyage is all about travel: trans-global, intergalactic or simply back in time. Moroccan member Raphael Sebbag probes the meeting of East and West on "Dans Ce Desert," with the accompaniment of a French-jazz hybrid shuffling under his lyrics, while guest vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater lends her ecstatic scats to justify the experience of witnessing the UFO on "Flying Saucer." The band's usual cultural juxtapositions are also in effect - Arabic wails, twilight orchestral and a hip-hop breakbeat on "Pligrims" or the cross-weaving of tabla, didgeridoo and other non-Western instruments used to depict flight on "Labyrinth" - but where some might argue that such interminglings are only conceptually interesting, they're harmonious on Bon Voyage, and all the while still maintain the feel of a recording that is both vintage and exotic, like the records they've sampled. How these guys do it without running out of records is still the question that needs to be answered. (Instinct)