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Communique is a project that features Justin Hardison and Dave Soto, two of the more stimulating electronic-music practitioners in these parts. This judgment is confirmed by Kinetic, a cassette produced by Jim Stout that allows the partners to demonstrate that drum-and-bass needn't be monochromatic. "The Fifth Level of Lofi" is a warm and inviting lead track (an anonymous voice keeps intoning "happy blastoff" throughout it), "Joshua" is mutedly funky, and "The Last Years" skitters along with aplomb. For your listening or dancing pleasure (Careful Productions, 129 West Second Avenue, Denver 80223). Can you say Paula Cole? You'll definitely be able to do so after spinning The World, by Dawn of Humans, a CD that's dedicated in part to "the mothers of all humans." (My own personal mom thanks you for the recognition.) Lead singer Dawn Ritchie emotes with a vengeance on "Shocked" ("When a child is born a grown man/His mother may die at his hands") and "Without You" ("Press my fists into my eyes/Trying to hold in every last ounce of you"). Other tunes, like "Where Are You," don't require a listener to slog through quite so much psychodrama, but the differences aren't large enough to matter much. I'm going to confession immediately after work. Really (Bigg Ritchie Productions, 303-642-0487).

The third annual Bella Ball takes place on Friday, December 18, at Seven South. The production, which includes appearances by Product 626, Bella Coyote, Tequila Mockingbird, Nobodaddy and Comedy Helper, is a benefit for a local charity, Santa's Toy Bag. For further information, call 303-446-9448.

Tony Mohr, corresponding via e-mail, sent an irate message informing me that I'd erred in claiming that no songs from the album October had been included in U2's The Best of 1980-1990/The B-Sides, a double-album set I recently reviewed ("The Major and the Minor," December 3). As it turns out, Mohr is correct: The title cut from the 1981 effort is an uncredited "hidden" track that appears after approximately one minute's worth of silence at the end of the first disc. According to Mohr, my decision to remove the staggeringly predictable CD from my player after the last listed tune played means that he can no longer respect anything I say. But on the off chance that I can change his mind, I make this solemn pledge: From now on, I'll listen closely for a minimum of thirty minutes after any recording has seemingly ended to make absolutely certain that it's truly over.

Or maybe not. On Thursday, December 17, Why Planes Go Down crashes at the 15th Street Tavern, with Koala. On Friday, December 18, life is a Cabaret Diosa at the Fox Theatre, and "A Christmas Heritage," a holiday presentation with contributions from Darol Anger, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Todd Phillips and former Denverite Tim O'Brien, takes place at the Boulder Theater. On Saturday, December 19, Sprung Monkey hops to it at the Bluebird Theater, with Zebrahead. And on Wednesday, December 23, Westword contributor Marty Jones brings his Pork Boilin' Po' Boys and singer-songwriter Micah Ciampa to the Bluebird. He's hoping others will find their own way there.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.

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