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Album Review

From one-handed didjeridoo fusionist Charlie McMahon comes the latest in a series of albums of scorching fusion/traditional/worldbeat/something else music. The key for McMahon doesn't so much appear to be connecting the old with the new as it is to simply make use of an old instrument in new arrangements and the like. He runs the range from dancehall to acid jazz here, with the didjeridoo making its way through, number by number. At times, McMahon uses the instrument in a relatively traditional manner (but perhaps overlaid by electric guitars), and at times he uses it in an amplified, pitch-shifted manner to fit with the rest of the largely electronic-slash-percussion ensemble. Aboriginal singer Bobby Bunuggurr provides some interesting interplay between old song formats and thick beats here and there to complement the stretching of cultures already set up. The album provides little in the way of something categorizable. It's not really worldbeat proper, though it has aspects of it. It's certainly not traditional Australian music, though it has some aspects of that as well. It's just barely fusion for that matter, as there is little being fused. If any single label can be given it, it has to be the blanket of electronica, which it spans quite well, incorporating older instruments, motives, and ideas, but usually only as they serve the larger groove and riff structure (listen to "Pig Wobble" for a great example of this, with a large piece of sheet metal involved). Whatever you want to call it, however, one thing stays certain: it's a scorching album laden with riffs and grooves that only rarely slow down to give the listener a break.

Travelling, Charlie Mcmahon
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