Ex-Centric Sound System - West Nile Funk
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Ex-Centric Sound System
West Nile Funk
Indieland/EXS (www.ex-centric-sound.com)

Bassist Yossi Fine could have been content to make his living accompanying stars like David Bowie and Lou Reed, but his Israeli/Caribbean heritage, his sideline gigs as a DJ and his love for field recordings from around the globe saw to it that he would wind up equal parts musician and visionary. Fine's band Ex-Centric Sound System is the result of his creative vision and the non-mainstream music that inspired him. He cites U.K. Afro/dub/techno outfit African Head Charge as a major influence, and Ex-Centric's 2000 debut album Electric Voodooland was similar to (though not shamelessly derivative of) African Head Charge's blend of deep drums and percussion with electric and electronic sounds and vocals that included both live singing and grafted songs, chants, snippets and trippy utterances from all over the world.

Their sophomore release, West Nile Funk, sidesteps some of the reggae-like chill of the first disc to put forth a mostly faster, funkier slice of global dance music. Real-time bass and drums anchor every song, most of which brim with joy and celebration. African drums, balafons, kalimba, flutes and a wide array of triggered instrumentation play off a crafty mix of sampled and organic vocals, resulting in a cohesive whole that suggests a party beginning in Africa and spreading to the entire world. Along the way the vibe seems to jump from any number of African starting points to the Caribbean, Latin America, New Orleans, European expatriate communities and further. Yet despite the scope it's reaching for, there's something warm and inclusive in the music. The aural equivalent of a journey described in a travelogue perhaps, or the elation of experiencing musical unity in a world that fails to achieve it on so many other levels. The ethno/techno blend achieved by Ex-Centric Sound System is a microcosm of that, and they do it right. - Tom Orr

Available at cdroots.com

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