Published on Wind and Wire - 19 January 2003 - Dance Music

Dance Planet
Music Mosaic (2002)

The good people at Australia-based Music Mosaic have done it again. Here is yet another fine compilation from the label that mines artist's catalogs, hand-picks some of the best tracks available, and cranks out albums that fit together damn near perfectly. On Dance Planet, the energy level is way up near the boiling point, so if you're not interested in turning this puppy all the way up and doing your version of the juke joint jump, look elsewhere. Blending dance-floor grooves, world fusion influences, trippy beats, and all manner of electronics, the artists on this album have one thing on their collective minds - fun, fun, fun!

Mystic Rhythms (Gregor Theelen) opens the CD in superb fashion with an alloy of acid-jazz trumpet, didge, wailing chants, and pulsing beats on "Earth Dance Dreamtime." That's followed by a slice of disco and soul on "The Pleasure Zone" from Urban Farmonix - this would've fit nicely on the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert soundtrack. Racheal Brown's vocals are hot and spicy while an assortment of spacy synths and synth strings circle around her voice. Both are supported underneath it all by heavy bass rhythms and a get-yer-ass-movin' beat that is damn near irresistable.

Even more fun is Don Peyote's "Watsi Watsi," on which African vocal samples are wedded to all manner of high-tech electronica techno beats, scratches, and percolating synths. Twenty-first century technology meets the frenetic primal energy of the third world. A more urban sensibility surfaces on Sin Palabras' "Timbasa," wherein Cuban rhythms and ethnic percussion galore are buoyed by bubbly synths and fast tempo modern dance beats. Ya gotta dig the crazy-hip trumpet refrain on this one and how the song sways over into a salsa-jazz vein, courtesy of some nice piano work.

There are five more way-cool tracks on Dance Planet, and the variety just keeps getting more diverse and enjoyable. From the Asian-underground feel of Kamal's "Shakuhaji Tales" (one of my favorite tracks here) to the more subdued flamenco-flavored vocal number "Luna Piena" by Gypsy Moon, to the rave-up Ibiza-like album closer, "Phrygian" (by Yantra de Vilder and Zia Moreau), this compilation continues (unabated) the winning streak from Music Mosaic. As I have stated more than once before, whoever is selecting and ordering these tracks, give him or her a raise! No other label can touch the folks at MM when it comes to delivering a non-stop enjoyable, cohesive, and flat-out blast of a CD. Now, get up on the floor and dance - that's an order!

review by Bill Binkelman

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