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Funky Minimalism - the Greatest Common Factor

Glissandro 70 has found a way to strip the music I love down to its rapt, pulsing core

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by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2006
It's world music in the sense that it's of the entire world all at once, a beatbox programmed by our collective alpha waves.

Glissandro 70
Glissandro 70

Now, this is turning out to not only be my favorite CD of so-far-2006, but that of my daughter as well. The CD player in the car is a field of battle, my side looking to see how far I can push the tolerance of a free mind, her side seeing how many times we can play the Laurie Berkner Victor Vito CD. To Ms. Berkner's credit, I still like that "Bottlecaps" song after the 10,000th listen, but the rest of it has spent my interest. But this surprisingly funky, twinkling little broadcast from my favorite Montreal shivering anarchist collective is a winner for everyone. I'm guessing their name is a lamp on Fela Kuti's Egypt 70 band, and it's an apt description. The music usually entails a rather simple rhythm loop, an interlaced bass line and some chanted lyrics, and not a lot else. But it turns out, that's all we need.

Those lyrics are rather reductive too, being snippets borrowed from Talking Heads and some group called Model 500, or just some fa-la-la's being ululated over the rippling tranquility. It's the collusion of rhythm and shimmer and repetition, pushing post-rock Jazzism into deconstructed Afropop territory. It's world music in the sense that it's of the entire world all at once, a beatbox programmed by our collective alpha waves. Its sweet, simple, poetic. I really love this CD a lot. If you remember that Ambitious Lovers song "Umbabarauma" from '91, with its incessant world beat-meets-minimalism thing, then you might have a taste for what's on the menu here. Or maybe Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians." Or maybe your own heartbeat, pumping away in your chest, unencumbered on those rare moments of simple bliss.

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Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

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