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Paul Oakenfold | Bunkka | review | electro | Lollipop

Paul Oakenfold

Bunkka (Maverick)
by Wa

Paul Oakenfold has achieved and been involved with nearly every aspect of dance and club culture. Perhaps you've heard of Will Smith and Salt N' Pepa, whom he signed while serving as A&R representative with UK-based Champion Records in the mid-'80s. Or perhaps you've heard his remixes for a slew of artists including U2, Madonna, New Order, The Cure, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Arrested Development, and Massive Attack, among many others. All of that said, he just accomplished something that he's never achieved before. He's released his own original compositions on an album under his own name. The album is Bunkka and it is probably the best dance/trance/club release of 2002.

Each track on Bunkka is fresh and yet familiar, like a favorite old t-shirt. By his own admission, Oakenfold is no singer. To help realize Bunkka, he enlisted a disparate collection of talents including Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction), Shifty Shellshock (Crazy Town), Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, and Tricky. The most surprising contributor is Hunter S. Thompson, the infamous creator of gonzo novels Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, providing spoken word on "Nixon's Spirit."

Tracks from Bunkka have infiltrated pop culture already with the ad friendly "Starry Eyed Surprise" (featuring vocals by Shifty Shellshock) appearing in campaigns for Cinemax and VH1 Classic Rock and "Ready, Steady, Go" (featuring vocals by Asher D of So Solid Crew).

Throughout his career, Oakenfold has given breaks to new artists as often as he could, whether by spinning unknowns, or encouraging their careers by giving them remixing opportunities (in the case of Timo Maas and Hernan Cattaneo). In this case, he features promising new vocal talents Carla Werner, Tiff Lacey, and well known by now to American audiences Emiliana Torrini, whose Björk-like vocals appeared on "Gollum's Song" which runs during the end credits of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

My favorite track is the purely instrumental "Zoo York," a touching, poignant track that features a string sample of Clint Mansell's scoring of Requiem for a Dream that builds into an explosive climax of the entire scope of emotions. I cried after hearing the track the first time.

I cannot wait until he releases his second original composition.


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