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United Future Organization 

Bon Voyage (Instinct)

Three globetrotting DJs known as United Future Organization (UFO) have been experimenting with various world beats and sounds since their debut single "I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Jazz)" became a cult dance groove in 1992. Bon Voyage, the trio's latest album, follows UFO into its latest global obsession -- progressive South American rhythms. The group moves away from the French spy harmonies and dance tunes of 1997's 3rd Perspective into a whirlwind of big horns, Brazilian percussion, and driving melodies. "Good Luck Shore," the album's crowning jewel, is perhaps some of the best work UFO has ever put out, and considering the group's previous impressive handiwork, that's pretty notable. The song opens with an uptempo acoustic guitar, before drums and a funky keyboard riff segue into a chorus of nonsensical hums.

Jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater screams like Shirley Bassey in "Flying Saucer," a track accompanied by hard-hitting sax and a nice bit of whistling (it works -- really). "Tres Amigos," the tune with the most mainstream Brazilian feel, detonates with a huge horn arrangement, then saunters along with a rolling piano and trumpet. Despite the running theme, Bon Voyage still retains the diversity of a typical UFO creation. "Somewhere" takes a sly electronic beat, ambient trumpet, and a lashing guitar riff and overscores it with French rap. "Pilgrims" uses a downtempo beat and bass groove to support a beautiful Arabic chant, taking listeners on their own musical Hajj. "You know where you're going -- maybe you could tell me, then I could go along with you," whispers a sample in "Pilgrims." UFO loves taking listeners on trips, and its latest excursion carries on the history of superb songwriting.

More by Keith Gribbins


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