ZAWOSE & BROOK Assembly (Real World/Virgin) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Given Michael Brook's past attempts at fusing old with new, it's impossible not to approach this latest bit of cultural fusion featuring Tanzanian vocalist Dr. Hukwe Zawose with caution. Brook is up to his usual tricks, adding ultra-modern studio glimmer to a traditional global groove, but the big surprise is that Assembly works, if only because it's so bizarre. The opening track, Kuna Kunguni, staggers forward with an utterly disorienting rhythm, mixing chopped up horns with Zawose's growling vocals, and it only gets weirder. Purists might moan that there's not enough Zawose -- his vocals are often just sideshows within the larger production -- and there's an unfortunate sheen to these tracks that suggests Brook should get out of his studio more, but Assembly at least tries to push things forward.