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Bob Burnett
Loops & Lines
Bob Burnett

Now here's an interesting album. Though only six songs short (and a mere 18 minutes), Bob Burnett's Loops & Lines manages to flesh out myriad jazz, classical, ambient and world-beat sounds as well as albums twice its length. From the album opener--the tango-laden "Igor"--to the trancey "Out West" (my personal fave), Burnett and his roster of Santa Cruz players (Rick Walker, Rhan Wilson, Jim Norris) capture a heady feel that evokes a languid continuity, even though the songs float from genre to genre. But perhaps Burnett gets his most deserved kudos with his seamless use of samples, grafting everything from sounds by Pipa and the Shapeshifters to John Coltrane to Fox's King of the Hill onto his songs for a snug, curve-hugging fit. (Karen Reardanz)

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Sally Nyolo
Tinder Records

She's got brains, beauty, talent and a hair-do that would make Erykah Badu green with envy. With multiculti, her second solo release, Cameroon's Sally Nyolo proves once and for all that African music is rooted in more than rhythm alone. A former member of Zap Mama and Toure Kunda, vocalist, songwriter and percussionist Nyolo uses her beautiful voice to weave depth into her unique self-penned melodies. Nyolo tells wise tales of strong women, racial understanding, love and cultural identity. Whether singing of pretensions in "Ndong" or girl power in "Make Up," she breathes power and dignity into each piece. A native of Cameroon now living in Paris, Nyolo blends rhythms and lyrics with cosmopolitan savvy--all the while retaining respect for more traditional musical styles. (Mary Spicuzza)

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The Girl That God Forgot
Reckless Records

A poppy little ditty that pays homage to the sun-kissed pop rockers of not-so-old, Suncatcher's The Girl That God Forgot returns to music's heyday, pure and simple. Whether it's the Posies-influenced scratchy sonics and confection rhyming of the title track, the Beatles-esque horns on "To Move You," the early-REM droning on "Dandelion," or the Lou Reed-style vocals on "Viva," it's obvious these guys have been seriously grokking musical genres for years. Though the album feels like its been drizzled with heavy syrup at first, with deeper listening, it comes across as a record that, like pop of the ages, beckons a sunshiny day. (KR)

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Ernesto Diaz-Infante
Itz'at Musica (BMI)

The Pacific Grove pianist cohesively wanders through his collection of sparse and elegant tunes. Penned entirely by his own hand, the handful of Diaz-Infante's solo piano songs are, surprisingly enough, all improvisational. Smooth and supple, the artist moves from slow-like-honey pieces (like the 22-minute "Tepeu") to ones that pack a classically trained, New Age-influenced punch. It's Diaz-Infante's handwork that stands out most on this record, nimble-fingered and agile playing that makes this sleepy work good background music. (KR)

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From the August 20-26, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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