Six Degrees
artist website, label website
Bob Holroyd's latest Without Within acts like an uptown offshoot of the stylistic stream epitomized by Tulku. It combined authentic indigenous musicians with synthesized soundscapes which, though inducing similar effects to better trance and ambient music, remained distinct by virtue of a very organic acoustic feel that eschewed drum machines in favor of live musicians and juxtaposed authentic Amazon shamans with studio artists.

Fashioned in his London recording studio, Holroyd's prior and very good "A Different Space" on Six Degrees featured a remix by the artist, of his own "African Drug". This track had proven wildly popular with the UK dance kulturniks and been heavily licensed to various compilations such as Francois K's Essential Mix, Buddha Beats, Claude Challe's Sun and Ministry of Sound's Pure Global Chillout. His fourth album opens with "Looking Back" wherein he remixes the voices of Kalahari bushmen. Via an interpreter, their spokesman told Holroyd afterwards that it was their favorite number on the album. Heavily polyrhythmic and unabashedly groove-centered, with neo-tribal elements embedded in expansive thematic developments, "Confluence" introduces trumpeter Kevin Robinson's fiery horn chart which, into the album's overall space/rave/African flavor, mixes in undeniable Cuban spice. Meanwhile, muted-trumpet hipness derived from Birth of Cool inspires others cuts.

As on earlier releases, the programming/engineering chops of Twilight Fisheries studio honcho Jerry continue to be the cover-to-cover mainstay of Holroyd's craft. It here pits Chinese pipa against Doug Sinclair's thumping bass and transforms a Hearts of Space-type New Age meditation into a funky high-energy romp of layered percussion, Jazz flute, African chorus and Kevin's raunchy brass batteria.

"I am the leopard that changed its spots for stripes, only to be caged for a better view. But, I'm rarely seen in my new home". This contemporary koan and track titles like "Re-awakening the Spirits" and "The Space In-between" hint at Holroyd's head space - light-handedly mystical, environmentally conscious and concerned, one of many modern composer/performers who, in their own quiet but far-reaching ways, become cultural ambassadors for mankind's perennial hope of manifesting the vision of One World. Naturally, the music fits the man. It also fits our 6moons focus. Call it organic electronica, call it rave fare, call it aural psychotropics - but me thinks you'll luv it regardless of what label you struggle to pin on it. Just remember to be ready and shake some booty...