Various Artists Backspin: A Six Degrees 10 Year Anniversary Project Review

Compilation. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Cutting-edge San Francisco label make a genre-defying covers album to celebrate 10...

Hattie Collins 2007

This album is a featured release on BBC's Asian Network

When Bob Duskis and Pat Berry set up San Francisco label, Six Degrees, 10 years ago, they had little idea that their eclectic establishment would live to last a decade. However, it’s testament to the duo’s dedication and discerning taste in the sounds of ambient, world and electronicia that they have been able to sustain such a healthy life- span in the ever-precarious industry of music.

To celebrate their born-day, they’ve enlisted various Degree-related artists to put their own slant on a number of well- known tracks. A concept recently explored by Mark Ronson, but unlike his Version, there’s very little here not to like. Opening the 60- minute CD is Karsh Kales’ percussive rendition of the Police’s ‘‘Spirits In The Material World’’, while MNO close proceedings with an instrumental rendition of Lennon & McCartney’s ‘’Julia’’. In-between, Shrift’s whimsical, haunting retake on the Beach Boy’s ‘‘God Only Knows’’ is quite beautiful, while Spanish eight-piece Ojos De Brujo transform Marley’s majestic ‘‘Get Up, Stand Up’’ into a fantastical flamenco-flavoured upbeat number.

Who knew Herbie Hancock’s ‘’Rockit’’ could sound so sublime in the hands of Vienna-based duo dZihan & Karmien? ‘‘Get Carter’’ may be a soundtrack classic, but the Bombay Dub Orchestra turn Roy Budd’s somewhat repetitive key stabs into a tabla- filled world of head-nodding hip hop breaks and beats.

This is more than mere remixing; Six Degrees spin songs from Led Zep, Jimi Hendrix and many more 180º on their axis, and they’re all the better for it. Covers by numbers? Far from it.

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