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A combo plate for your ears

Planet Soup
Planet Soup
By various artists

Ellipsis Arts: 1995

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This review first appeared in the September 22, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Those purveyors of outstanding world music box sets at Ellipsis Arts may have outdone themselves. Surely, they have given us their most exciting, ambitious project yet. While earlier collections were focused on specific types of music (flamenco, African, trance music, etc.), the three-disc "Planet Soup" is built around a much more expansive theme: The producers sought music that blended vastly different traditions and, when they couldn't find the blend they wanted, they brought the musicians together specifically for this project.

The result is fantastic if you like your music on the adventurous side. Where else will you find a Tuvan throat singer paired with an American blues guitarist? Or Israeli and Arab musicians jamming together. Or Japanese-Celtic music? African salsa? Almost any combo you can imagine is here, and all remain accessible while still being brand-new.

Capturing the flavor of mixing ingredients to get new tastes are the names given each of the three discs: "Gazpacho" (a Spanish seafood stew), "Tiga Nadje" (a peanut soup from Africa), and "Mulligatawny" (a pepper soup from India) – complete with recipes for each. Like the music on their respective discs, the recipes combine a lot of different flavors to create a new palette bound to please any palate.