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Psychic Karaoke

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Album Review

There's worldbeat, and then there's worldbeat. Psychic Karaoke starts off with "Chariot," during the seven-minute course of which you get to hear Middle Eastern percussion, a string section, bruising breakbeats, a Cockney rapper, and Natacha Atlas warbling like a dancehall muezzin. So much for track one. And it only gets better, at least for a while: "Mouth Wedding" is a more Afrocentric outing with a surprising Adrian Sherwood/African Headcharge ambience, and "A Tongue of Flame" is a snaky, satisfying reggae workout. But things start to bog down a bit by the end, and as you approach the 78th minute of this generous album, you might be forgiven for checking to make sure you didn't accidentally hit the "repeat" button on your CD player. Psychic Karaoke is strong and effective medicine, but it's best taken in measured doses.


Formed: 1992 in London, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

TransGlobal Underground is a U.K.-based collective fusing as many different kinds of world music as its members can get their hands on. The group's core is composed of vocalist Natacha Atlas (who has recorded with Jah Wobble, Apache Indian, and her own band, Atlas Project), keyboardist Alex Kasiek, drum programmer Man Tu, and founder, bassist, and sampler Count Dubulah. The project grew out of a mutual love for dance, avant-garde, Arabic, and world music and draws on each member's listening tastes...
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Psychic Karaoke, Transglobal Underground
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