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Basement Jaxx 

Kish Kash (Astralwerks)

With guest stars galore -- from goth queen Siouxsie Sioux to the poor man's Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez -- rumblings of "album of the year" have swirled around Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash for several months now.

Although that kind of talk is a bit hyperbolic, the third disc from the spastically danceable English duo of Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Burton is quite a triumph. Combining the party-hearty disco funk of 2001's Rooty with the dense beat splattering of 1999's Remedy, Kash is a sexed-up celebration of cut-and-paste dance culture. Soul sister Me'Shell NdegeOcello seduces her way through the sweaty funk-hop of "Right Here's the Spot," while freewheeling British rapper Dizzee Rascal tumbles through the sultry, Middle Eastern-tinged rave-up "Lucky Star." Even more impressive is Chasez, whose Prince-worthy falsetto shows surprising range atop the monster big beats, chewy keyboard lines, and '80s robotics of "Plug It In." What's best about Kash is how effortlessly these diverse styles slip into one another. It's the hippest, most original party album of the year.

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