By Afro Celt Sound System
'Capture,' 15 years of the Afro Celt Sound System is a great compilation, not excellent throughout, but different people will like different tracks. Taking tracks from the 5 previous albums, with one being remixed by Rae and Christian, this is a 'best of...' type release.
Fusion is the name of the game, while avoiding too many cliches, the overall sound of this release is the epitome of the world music genre, non modern western styles fused over dance beats. Strong songs that have been influenced by three regions, African, Irish and British.
Significantly better than the sort of rubbish you can find between nestling between the whale noises and Buddhist chants in Shared Earth, though you would expect this to be played in cafes that serve chi tea throughout middle England. This is as much decent British dance music as it is anything else but that being said, if you don't like the sound of Irish pipes or African singing then move away now. Incidentally, Simon Emmerson is one of the founders of the Afro Celt Sound System, who also put together The Imagined Village. A definite sign of quality.
2 CD's, each one taking its own slant on their music. The first "Chorus" is song based, the second is instrumentals. The big choruses' are on the first CD, although not all the tracks can be sung along to, and with no tracks under 4 minutes and only two under 5, this is not standard pop music. On the verse CD (CD2) comparisons with Underworld would not be wrong or unfavourable, with the tech house feel carrying the range of instruments well.
At no point do you get the feeling they have tried to make easily digestible music that sounds like it is African or they have tried to fit a hippie chic stereotype to gain sales. Musical themes and associations between cultures are the driver behind the music, which sets it apart from the attempts to make unimaginative background music available in new world shops.
Having made the reference to shops selling joss sticks and elephant statues a couple of times it must be clear that this release will fall foul of stereo typing, but with the blend of influences and the support of Peter Gabriel's Real world label, it will find its way into the collections of those with an interest in musical fusions, those who like to dance, as well as those who wear skirts with bells on and have named their offspring Moonchild.
Successfully ignoring the clich?created by Clannad's reworking of Irish tunes and Paul Simon's use of African rhythms, the sweeping instruments and arrangements allow the African percussion and pulse to support the melodies. Hearing the tracks individually, you would not instantly assume a cross over and in some cases not notice the range of style, although all together the feel of the album is unquestionably world music.
Sinead O'Conner collaborates on one track which I used to own as a 12 inch, until it was stolen when I was broken into. An excellent track, and I don't like Miss O'Conner. With various guest musicians throughout the CD (the Peter Gabriel track was big in America), and some of the tracks they have contributed to sound tracks (The Lion King, Gangs of New York, Hotel Rwanda), this CD is an excellent retrospective for those that like the band, a nice way to hear a band that may have had you dancing at a festival or as the token world music CD in your collection.