Various Artists Two Culture Clash
- Words: Rob Geary
- Label: Wall of Sound
Electronic producers have stolen countless ideas and samples from Jamaica for years; on the flipside, current dancehall rhythms owe much of their glossy jiggle to continental techno. So Wall of Sound's Two Culture Clash project is surprising more for its late emergence than its concept: Jamaican vocalists toasting over European producers' tunes, done in face-to-face collaborative mode rather by tape trades. The result is a tight, organically orchestrated clash between sensibilities. Jacques Lu Cont's "Na Na Na Na" sets up an aggressive bounce for vocalists Ce'Cile and General Degree, and then spins up and out into a lovely filtered house flourish at the end. Spragga Benz bounces on Roni Size's giant inflatable mattress of bass, while numerous productions (featuring the likes of Tanya Stephens and Junior Reid) ape the ludicrous syncopation and sparse handclaps of recent dancehall rhythms like Coolie Dance. While no one beats Jamaica's riddim crafters at their own game, Kid 606 comes close, giving Ward 21 a roiling, martial ragga beat.
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