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Jazzanova 

The Remixes 1997-2000 (Jazzanova Compost)

Although many artists maintain that their work can't be categorized, Jazzanova is one of the few acts that makes good on the claim. Consisting of a half-dozen German DJs and studio gurus, the group creates a hybrid of electronic music that hovers tantalizingly close to genres such as acid jazz, Afrofunk, high-fidelity lounge, trip-hop, techno, Latin groove, and deep house, but eventually returns to a luxurious spot in the middle. It comes as little surprise that Jazzanova's remixing talents have been sought by many other leaders in the international club scene, and the results have been compiled on this two-disc, 20-track collection.

In most cases, Jazzanova takes tracks that inhabit the outlying categories of dance music and brings them in toward the hub where its own work resides. The claustrophobic bass swoops and gritty synth swells of 4 Hero's experimental drum 'n' bass track "We Who Are Not as Others" are replaced with one part electro boogie and two parts cookin' jazz riffs, making the track both more organic and more danceable. Meanwhile, "Watch Them Come!!!," a gem from deep house master Roy Davis Jr. (under the alias Men From the Nile), gets converted from simple floor-filler to a moodier tribal jam session, as Jazzanova drops out the kick beats in places and brings a weightier percussive orchestra to the surface. The collection's most objectionable aspect is that, while Jazzanova delivers most of the time, the imprint of its distinct sound onto each track lessens the sonic diversity, making sustained listener interest over the course of The Remixes' two discs a challenging proposition.

More by Steve Boughton

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