Leeds Music Scene

Urban Fusion II by Various Artists

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Reviewed on 20th July 2004.


Urban Fusion II

By Various Artists

Mark Wright of Our Tuli sent this great CD in to LMS. And that tells a tale, by omission.

Arts Leeds of the City Council, and a whole boatload of worthy sponsors put time and cash in to make the project possible. But did I hear about it? What do you think? Not till this week, anyway.

Never mind. Gerry Ryan and Bhupinder Singh Chaggar have assembled a great range of pro and amateur musicians from African, Caribbean, Asian and UK urban traditions to make a really sparky, diverse album. It has a combination intro and final track ("Journey") that wraps round the whole thing in a glorious 6 minute mix of sounds. It is really special, with appearances from all the musicians on the rest of the CD.

The gamut runs from Charmaine's deadpan real kid rapping (against a really fine track by Andy Penny) through Indian singing from Mauli Raval, African kora by Musa (Jali Kebba) Suso, Indian tabla (Bhupinder), soul jazz from Our Tuli, the uniquely bizarre "Potato Man" of CAUZNFX, jabby funk from The Red Eye Funktion ... and on.

The great achievement of the whole project is that it does end up sounding all part of one thing. As Charmaine raps "Music holds the key / It sets you free / Takes you where you wanna be"

Personal favourites include Mauli Raval's fine singing on "Pyaar" and Our Tuli's expansive "Under the Applecart". I really like Chantelle Berry's perfectly set (Andy Perry again) "Driving" - "I'm happy" she raps. Spot on. The Kepler Ensemble's "Ruby" has a weirdly loose wail of small group jazz. It leads into the fine main section of Journey, with a great blast of what Unity Day would sound like if you recorded it. It would have been nice to have some serious dub or reggae there too ... but maybe next time.

Bruce Wood of Touchwood has done some very tidy work on the recording side, with one track done by Martin Robinson at Purple Pro Audio. I'm guessing now, but you could probably pick up a copy from the music section of the City Library.



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