Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Various Artists 

Center of the World (Six Degrees)

Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke) says his upcoming film, Center of the World, is about a computer whiz so in love with the digital world that he's forgotten his social and sexual manners and mores. That's why Wang wanted a soundtrack hot enough to reflect the movie's contemporary, highly erotic theme. This soundtrack does the trick, as it's alternately sultry, disquieting, and cosmic. Sparked by such tracks as Robbie Robertson's "Rattlebone" (a jungle telegraph with a binary heart) and the refined rai of DJ Cheb I Sabbah's "Kese Kese" (remixed by Transglobal Underground), the Center soundtrack breaks new ground while remaining accessible. And it keeps the listener riveted.

Robertson's piece may be the most adventurous and sexy song that the laconic Band icon has turned out in years; Gilberto's "Alguiem" is percolating and refreshing; Ekova's "Temoine" is exotic, airy, and rocking; and Laika's "Black Cat Bone" is as slinky and sinister as its title suggests. The heavily sampled disc is notable for its seamlessness and textural diversity. Ending the album with Joe Henry's beautiful "Mean Flower" seems arbitrary, at first, because of what has come before. After all, this cut from Henry's upcoming Craig Street-produced album Scar is a superficially orthodox rock track, seemingly stuck onto the end of a CD that is otherwise resolutely modern. But Henry's lyrics are paradoxical and postmodern, and his music -- apparently sample-free and relatively straightforward -- is loamy and deep. In one sense, this soundtrack is similar to ones from bigger labels that mine their far deeper vaults for material to recycle. Certainly, contemporary movies bear that out, with endless reruns of '70s themes and '70s pop hits. But Center feels recombinant rather than recycled. The sounds here are largely world beat, techno, ambient -- all three and more, at times. They're the sounds of evolution and change, and you can dance to them.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Carlo Wolff

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays