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Urban Trad Link:

Urban Trad

    Urban Trad
    One O Four
    2000, Mercury

When traditional world music is paired with modern production techniques, it can oftentimes make for strange bedfellows. This is sometimes the case with Urban Trad, whose name just about says it all. Nevertheless, there are a few treats to be devoured here. One is the bouncy “Vodka Time,” which spins and twirls like a drunken happy hour after a long day’s work. Equally enjoyable is “Waltzing Dranouter,” which softly combines various pipes and whistles into a three-quarter time dance of joy. Even its urban-oriented percussion affects don’t spoil its happy mood. “Rap-a-doo” is not as scary as its title makes it sound—this is not Gaelic hip-hop, friend. Instead, it’s a song steeped in the mating tradition, and is about a boy who wants to marry a beautiful and eligible girl. The song “Mecanix,” is closer to what its title suggests, as it applies heavy drum beats, processed vocals and acoustic guitars matched to a lonesome gypsy fiddle, and what sounds like Bulgarian group vocals and funky bass. It’s one heady mix, indeed, especially when unlikely horn parts jump in toward the middle. This is the ultimate cross-cultural pollination the group’s name suggests. The lyrics for “Mecanix” are nothing more than its various participants introducing themselves and explaining what instruments they play, which gets old fast. Ultimately, One O Four is much more trad than it is urban, which is a good thing. If you’re looking for techno or dance music—with just a tad of world music spice—Urban Trad is not for you. But if you want to hear traditional music aided by twenty-first century production and studio affects, this one might be the right choice. —Dan MacIntosh

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