Various Rough Guide To Global Dance

Most collections of this type - a "branded lifestyle" compilation - just don't work. From Starbucks to Chapters, these collections tend to contain the least alarming, most background appropriate sounds intended to soothe. The Rough Guide travel books and TV show are well known as the hip, informative guide for budget-minded, culturally aware young folk. Their music compilations tend to balance sweet sounds with some pretty challenging music. As soon as I saw Tony Allen's slamming "Get Together," I knew there was hope for the punishing task of defining "global dance," and the great majority of this disc is fast and polyrhythmic. Sidestepper's abstract salsa dub tune, "Maine," bests anything on their current album. Suba's samba reformulation is one of the best-realised pieces of tech-Brazil yet. Jephte Guillaume's "The Prayer" teeters on pretentious with an acoustic guitar-driven house beat, but it ultimately rocks out. Even a few lounge-y tunes, whose "world music" credentials are questionable, nevertheless fit well in this collection. One can quibble about the actual amount of diversity beyond the primarily European mixes, but hey, the tracks themselves are great and the song sequence is excellent. (World Music Network)