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Music Review: Six Degrees Records' Emerging Artists

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One reason that I like theSix Degrees Records label so much is that it's a high-output label, constantly offering us new artists and music from literally all over the map. Six Degrees is also one of the first labels to truly embrace the web, with digital-only offerings, free downloads, and countless remixes available in almost real-time. Three recent arrivals in Six Degrees web-based Emerging Artist Series are EPs from David Starfire, Alien Chatter, and Harri Kakoulli.

Artist: David Starfire
Album: Bombay Beatz

David Starfire's Bombay Beatz starts out incredibly strong with the track "Indian Fever" which sounds familiarly like label-mates Midival Punditz's "Bhangra Fever" and this should be considered a compliment. The great tablas rhythms and twangy sitars means you'll be hearing it on the next LAist mix. Ranging from superb chillout ("Stargazer") to frenetic junglism ("Shaddi") it's a great EP with the exception of the track "Sucka Free". The instrumentation is great until some very mediocre and completely unnecessary rapping began a minute into the song. The solution? Just click through "Sucka Free" and enjoy the rest of it.

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[2 more EPs reviewed after the jump]

Artist: Alien Chatter
Album: Invasion EP 1& 2

Alien Chatter put together two EPs for this downloadable collection. With a similar Central Asian theme, Alien Chatter as a definite jazz angle to their music with lots of piano, solos, and instrumentation made me think that the Weather Report decided to try their hand at ethnic fusion dance music. The first couple times I listened to Invasion it all seemed a little off but after a few more listens, it did grow on me so kudos to Six Degrees for again supporting new sounds. Favorite tracks were "20 Million Miles To Saskatoon" and "Last Ganesha On Earth".

Artist: Harri Kakoulli
Album: Bliss Like Gold

As the bassist for the 80s band Squeeze Harri Kakoulli has been around the block more than a few times. He's worked with world music artists like King Sunny Ade and trip hopper Talvin Singh so it's not beyond his reach to do a bhangra infused electronica album. This EP was a tribute to the memory Kakoulli's father and features a couple introspective tracks with sacred chanting in addition to the more energetic bhangra club tunes (favorites were "Love Exotico" and "Kuzima"). This EP is another definite winner and well worth the $3.95

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With nine compelling artists already in this series I'm looking forward to what Six Degrees comes up with in 2008. Free downloads of several of the songs mentioned here, plus other artists are available at the Free Downloads Blog of the Six Degrees site.