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Various Artists

Black Mirror

Reflections in Global Musics (1918-1955)

(Dust-To-Digital; US: 20 Nov 2007; UK: 19 Nov 2007)

Those of you who, like me, miss Yazoo’s Secret Museum of Mankind series (with its brilliant, crackly recordings of long-dead Corsicans, Kenyans, and Kazakhs) should be happy to see that Dust-To-Digital is following in its footsteps with Black Mirror. Ian Nagoski’s liner notes are apoplectic with excitement. “Equally as real and beautiful as birth and death, these are [the tracks] I’ve sought out,” he cries, hand on heart. His selection is culturally broad, taking in Buddhist prayers from Laos, a Portuguese fado recorded in 1927, Irish-American piper folk, a prepubescent Swedish boy warbling over a zither, and a pre-fame Lata Mangeshkar looking unrecognisably young in the booklet photograph. There’s nothing from South America or Oceania and surprisingly only one track from Africa but I didn’t count this as a loss. Nagoski has a good ear for music that is unusual and beautiful. And the sound quality is so clean that I actually missed the Yazoo crackle.

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