splendid > reviews > 4/17/2002






Various Artists
Didgeridoo Trance Dance

Music Mosaic

Format Reviewed: CD


Rather than commissioning tracks from artists, Music Mosaic licenses existing material for their themed compilations. The wisdom of that modus operandi is revealed here: Didgeridoo Trance Dance is a well-planned, well-sequenced compilation that demonstrates the full-spectrum of didgeridoo-enhanced dance music.

Mind you, the didgeridoo's trendiness as a dance music accoutrement waned, along with the ethnotechno "wave", in the mid to late nineties. If you're looking for material that breaks new ground, you might as well look elsewhere, as Didgeridoo Trance Dance caters predominantly to listeners who, circa 1993, were giving huge chunks of their income to Astralwerks and Waveform. That's by no means a bad thing; Gondwana's "Gurrupurung", Ganga Girl's rave-y "Anyway I Tell Ya", Lost at Last's "Anowedas" and Global's "Didge-Na-Gig" provide twenty-six minutes of top-flight techno pleasure in which a rumbling, hooting, barking didg is never far from center stage. After these cuts, an interesting transition begins: the dancefloor elements begin to fade away, subsumed by traditional percussion. After "Factory Farm"'s sitar-enhanced breakbeat, the music is pretty much just didgeridoo in its (subtly enhanced) natural habitat. Si's "Entrance", which ends the disc with a chorus of didgeridoos, is particularly compelling.

The overall effect of the compilation is something like a long, gradual zoom-in; the listener is introduced to the didgeridoo in (by modern standards) an easy, palatable format, and grows slowly accustomed to it in a less artificial context. It's a marvelous way to develop a greater appreciation of this mysterious instrument. -- George Zahora

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