Listen Up

Anathallo, Floating World (Nettwerk). Floating World, the latest by Michigan septet Anathallo, may be the rarest of all musical rarities -- a truly unique album. Steeped in disenchanted Japanese fables, World inhabits the seemingly non-existent soundscape between worldbeat, chamber pop and choral rock. The result is orchestrated musical mayhem that is cinematic, experimental, avant-garde. -- Tracy M. Rogers

The Da Vinci Project, The Da Vinci Project (Sony Classical). A sticker on this faux soundtrack reads, "NEWLY RECORDED MUSIC inspired by the BEST-SELLING NOVEL" -- but nowhere on the liner is the novel identified, and the disc's website is temporarily offline. Are Dan Brown's lawyers trying to quash this overt ripoff, or seize a piece of the action? That's the real mystery. -- Roberts

Fatboy Slim, The Greatest Hits: Why Try Harder? (Astralwerks). Four measly albums into it, and England's renowned big-beat revolutionary is already offering nostalgia hounds the gift of one-stop shopping? What generosity! Mostly culled from breakout album You've Come a Long Way, Baby (but including a few tasty remixes by Cornershop and Groove Armada), this fun but unnecessary collection represents one funk soul brother who's run out of ideas, money or both. -- John La Briola


Mini reviews

M.A.N.D.Y. , Get Physical, Vol. 2 (Get Physical Music). Throw this on at a cocktail party and you'll be the most in-the-know kid on the block. Get Physical, a European dance label, has been a creative feeding pool for the neo-disco, digi-funk, electro and glitch beats that have infiltrated the American indie scene, as well as hot imports like Hot Chip. -- Terry Sawyer

Painted Saints, Company Town (Sopping Thursday). On Company Town, Paul Fonfara, a former sideman for DeVotchKa and Munly De Har He, presents ten bittersweet ballads that emphasize an undying love for the Old World. Along with Hungarian folk tunes and clarinet-blessed wedding romps, the multi-instrumentalist noodles with spaghetti Westerns and the Delta blues. Feeling forlorn but incurably romantic? Here's the booster shot. -- La Briola

Whirlwind Heat, Types of Wood (Brille). Whirlwind Heat champions the Moog, an instrument as capable of silliness as heaviness. The same goes for this oddly endearing CD. For instance, "Gene Pool Style" features thumping beats, clashing synths, quirky sound effects and informational lyrics such as "Thought about selling my testosterone/Girls have beautiful female hormones." Oh -- that type of wood. -- Roberts

Cassandra Wilson, Thunderbird (Blue Note). At its best, Cassandra Wilson's latest is a sophisticated fusion of jazz, funk, blues and pop, rife with sensual vocals and down-and-dirty grooves. At its worst, Thunderbird finds Wilson veering erroneously into traditional folk territory. Minus these miscues, though, the album is seductive and soulful, ethereal and gritty. -- Rogers


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