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I Dreamed of Africa


Plenty of groups are mixing electronic beats and world music these days. The members of Kent's Dot Morton take this a step further: They actually play some of the worldly instruments that appear on their debut. In recent performances, the group, which includes T.J. Hudock on samples and synthesizers; Jason Mowry on percussion programming, synthesizers, and turntables; and Eric Murray on samples, turntables, synthesizers, sitar, guitar, and percussion, has also included guest musicians who added even more world music instrumentation to the lineup. Its self-released CD, Spaceflakes, was recorded "live" without overdubs, and at times the music sounds like an exotic mix of high-tech meditation music. At other times, the mechanical beats pound away energetically under a sea of processed sounds, media samples, and oceans of electronic noise.

Here and there you can hear Murray's sitar peeking through the clouds of electronic sound. Murray, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Kent State, divides his time between studying music of different cultures in school and exploring the outer reaches of space rock with Dot Morton. Other than samples, there aren't vocals on the record, and there are no recognizable song structures. Instead, the tracks wander, flirting with a lot of strange sounds before fading out. Steady, programmed drumbeats hold the entire stew together. "The Anti-E Project" is a throbbing, sensual piece that features a sample of comedian Steve Martin yelling, "I'm a wild and crazy guy!" "The Hidden Camera" is a mutated tribute to the jazz bar scene in Star Wars, and "C-Mor (Ecstasy Remix)" weds a funk loop with samples of people talking about Ecstasy and a manipulation of Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky." Needless to say, Spaceflakes is a psychedelic journey worth taking.

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