Discovery Firm's World Groove ($39.95) focuses on esoteric and exotic sounds from Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. The grooves are tight, earthy, and potent, with a pulsing, hand drum emphasis that blends well with trance, electronica, or other contemporary styles.
Worlds in CollusionTempos range from 68 to 175 bpm during the course of the CD's 60 selections. However, World Groove is all too brief - it offers only 36 minutes of material. Also, the documentation lists only the track number and the selection's tempo in bpm. Track titles, file lengths, and descriptions of the instruments and musical styles would be helpful.
Nonetheless, I was immediately drawn to Track 2, an inspiring and energetic 21-bar groove reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's best work. I couldn't place the track's geographical origins, but it has a talking-drum foundation, with a high-pitched drum driving the rhythm, and a brief vocal line at the beginning. Track 4 is similar but with a deep tomlike drum pushing the beat.
Track 5 cooks at 147 bpm. It begins with a clay drum playing a syncopated, 16th-note groove joined later by an ensemble of low, loose-skinned drums. Track 7 continues in a similar way, with churning, call-and-response tribal drumming. Track 14 is equally appealing, with multiple hand drums and a didgeridoo in the mix.
Tracks 23 through 26 are infused with the flavors of India, emphasizing tabla and sitar. Jumping to tracks 38 through 40 finds slower rhythms (with less percussion) that invite listeners to join in with their own grooves. Track 50 beckoned me with its 6/8 rhythm and two accompanying flutes, as did Track 51, which features a gamelan-like melody line; an insistent ensemble of wooden percussion; and sweet, haunting vocals.
World ViewBesides poor documentation and brevity, my only other complaint about World Groove is that the pitched instruments are inseparable from the percussion. The pitched elements should be separate tracks so I am not painted into a harmonic and melodic corner.
Nevertheless, World Groove's outstanding tracks are intriguing, and I find myself wanting more - a lot more. A single, short CD isn't nearly enough. But as a bassist who performs regularly with a loop-based band, I'm excited by the world of possibilities the disc suggests.