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RECORD RACK

Heavy Hybrid

October 27, 1985|DON SNOWDEN

"LANGUAGE BARRIER." Sly and Robbie. Island 90286-1. Rather than the reggae rampage you might expect, producer Bill Laswell employs the formidable Jamaican team of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare as the foundation for a new kind of urban dance music. The hybrid--kind of industrial noise meets assorted Third World streetbeats in a downtown artist's loft--sports a genre-crossing supporting cast ranging from icons Miles Davis and Bob Dylan to Herbie Hancock, African saxophonist Manu Dibango and hip-hop's Afrika Bambaataa. The concept is more interesting than the execution on the opening three songs, but the second side, capped by the title track's ecstatic keyboard hook and Shakespeare's pulverizing funk bass line on "Get to This, Get to That," fully delivers with accessible yet innovative music.

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