Various New World Party

Putumayo is a chain of stores that sells “exotic” clothing & artefacts, and a label that releases musical exotica. Their motto is “music that’s guaranteed to make you feel good,” but not the 64-bar break that builds and builds until the bass drum drop kicks you in the chest kind of good. It’s more of a “today I’ll treat myself to a Venti cappuccino” good. New World Party — “a hip soundtrack for the new millennium” — is totally limp, paving a highway of uninspired breakbeats over the world with tracks from Brazil and North and South Africa. As the same music making machines proliferate around the world, pop music from all points will sound increasingly similar and unique sounds that make one culture distinct are obliterated when everyone uses the same synths. Putumayo succeeds better with a compilation of music from Cape Verde. This CD’s greatest strength is focussing on the styles of one small country. Good tracks include Jose’s “Zeca,” Neve’s “Injuria” and Djurumani’s “Galo Bedjo.” Not to dis all of Cape Verdean music, but like the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon (and the swing revival) people respond to it because it seems familiar right away. Music that makes you feel truly good includes a balance of tension and release, but Putumayo doesn’t want to make you feel tense. Unlike a hip-hop mix that demands to be heard, the Putumayo mix is strictly background. Look for more challenging music from around the world elsewhere. (Putumayo)