Natacha Atlas - Something Dangerous
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Natacha Atlas
Something Dangerous
Mantra Recordings (www.mantrarecordings.com)

Keep your Celine Dion, your Mariah Carey, even your Diana Ross. My true diva will always be Natacha Atlas. Mostly known for her many years as the exotic voice of Transglobal Underground, and as a frequent collaborator with Jah Wobble, Atlas has steadily been releasing a number of notable releases in her own right. She is the mistress of Arabic singing, the goddess of funky bellydancers everywhere, always willing to interject a certain element of campiness into her work - but she's become Ms. Atlas, if you're nasty.

Atlas' last CD, 2001's Ayeshteni, was remarkable for its tranced-out breakbeats laid onto massive Egyptian percussion. But Something Dangerous makes more a plea for mainstream acceptance and club worship; think bellydance-hip-hop and you might have some idea. "Adam's Lullaby," the opening track, is simply beautiful, with Natacha's voice joined by the Prague Symphony Orchestra: not the sort of thing to grab the bootylicious crowd. But "Eye of the Duck" changes all that, a heady slice of belly-mania that hits the floor with a Mid-East meets Missy Elliot vibe. From there, just about anything that can possibly happen, does. We are treated to the low-key minimal funk of the title track; the Transglobal-produced Indian head-nodder "Janamaan," the oddly sincere cover of James Brown's "Man's World," the r&b and reggae toasting swagger of "Layali," and the trance-dub of "Daymalhum." Natacha Atlas is fearlessly breaking new ground and laying waste to musical boundaries, building on the legacy of her Transglobal tenure. - Lee Blackstone


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