Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon
Douglas Heselgrave's #2 album for 2008
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2008, Volume 15, #11
Written by Douglas Heselgrave
Fri November 7, 2008, 06:30 AM CST
A good disc jockey, in the old sense of the term, can open your ears and make you hear music in a different way. He (or she) can take a song that otherwise would make you turn off the radio and present it in a fashion that makes you sit up and listen. Charlie Gillett, a veteran of the BBC Radio Network, is just such a person. Since 1972 he has been quietly opening Western ears to music from all corners of the globe. Charlie Gillett’s World of Music, his weekly radio program, can be heard on BBC World Service, and with all due respect to Little Steven and Bob Dylan, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that it’s the most interesting and exhilarating radio broadcast on the planet.
Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon is essentially a selection of songs that Gillett has played on his radio program over the course of the past year. While it’s true that sample collections such as this are often hit-and-miss affairs, Gillett’s adept track selection and sequencing make Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon indispensable. Not only does the outing spread some of the most truly exciting music being produced in the world across a reasonably priced, two-disc set, but also throughout the course of its 34 songs, he takes the listener on a melodic journey that is thoroughly engaging on its own terms. The gently shifting moods that Gillett manages to achieve while balancing a diverse slate of songs and musical traditions is something to behold.
It is not easy to identify a favorite track from among the many cuts that are featured on Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon. Each song flows so seamlessly into the next that the experiential whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Still, there are many highlights on the endeavor that deserve attention. African music fans, for example, will be pleased to hear crucial new cuts from veteran artists such as Youssou N’Dour and Toumani Diabate as well as songs from younger singers like Didier Awadi and Simphiwe Dana. In fact, Dana’s song Bantu Biko Street boasts some of the purest and most uplifting vocals to be recorded anywhere in 2008. Progressive new tunes from the iconic Manu Chao, Ceu, and DJ Dolores show the breadth and sophistication of material from the modern Latin world. The act of juxtaposing these artists with Le Trio Joubran’s Lebanese oud melodies as well as Yasmin Levy’s millennia-old Spanish, Sephardic style is an eloquent lesson in the unbroken line that unites the world’s musical traditions. Crucial jazz- and dance-inspired cuts from South America, the Middle East, and Jamaica demonstrate that anyone who thinks there’s nothing new on the horizon of modern recordings had better start paying attention. Delightful selections from Dengue Fever as well as Juldeh Camara and Justin Adams round out the collection by serving as a reminder that the boundaries of music are continually expanding.
Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon is the best musical sampler that I have heard in years. Anyone who is curious about the rapidly growing world music genre but is afraid to invest in material by artists with which they aren’t exactly familiar will find that this compilation is a wonderful place to test the waters. Caution, however, is urged. All of the music collected on Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon is so wonderfully exceptional that it likely will spur an obsession to track down the albums from which the individual songs were taken.
Of Further Interest...
Sound of the World Presents: Beyond the Horizon is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box