Paul Oakenfold - Bunkka      
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written by Hugo Lunny    
Though I was familiar with Oakenfold prior to listening to 'Bunkka,' it was mainly through his name. I'd heard (like many others) his music revered, and had experienced some of his material throughout rave scenes in both the UK and here in Vancouver. The stigma with techno music or electronica, trance/rave - whatever you want to call it, is that it requires some sort of drug to accentuate its quality. Though some may deem this as being true, it applies to all forms of music, and not just these genres.

From the second the CD began, Asher D and Paul Oakenfold take you into a trance like state (if the volume's loud enough that is, which it should be). Manipulating your head and the feel within yourself, the way that quality electronica does. We're brought into the album on an excitable note filled with energy and enthusiasm. Simple DJ'ing techniques, such as pulling back the record quickly to comically censor the cursing work in a well formulated manner. As the album moves on, we're lead into emotional depth with Carla Werner and 'Set Me Free.' Oakenfold delivers a hypnotic beat and covers Carla with a sound which helps evoke feeling from the listener.

'Bunkka' travels through a variety of styles. Suave upbeat material comes in the form of 'Get Up' which features Ice Cube (also on the Blade II soundtrack), 'Ready Steady Go,' and 'Time Of Your Life.' But the majority of the album goes through subtly changing emotionally deep music. Oakenfold provides beats which guide the guest singer awesomely. Nelly Furtado performs very well alongside Tricky on 'The Harder They Come.' Tiff Lacey sings with heart on 'Hypnotized' and in general, every guest performs to a great standard. Even the notorious Hunter S. Thompson (of 'Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas' authoring/living fame) adds himself to the album to talk about Nixon in an interlude.

One of the best tracks within this release is without a doubt 'Zoo York.' Oakenfold samples various parts of the perfect soundtrack which 'Requiem For A Dream' had, adds in some twists here and there; another beat and a foreign singing sample which resounds throughout the song. It works nicely as a simply assembled combination.

My only real problem with the album came in the form of the track 'Starry Eyed Surprise.' Shifty Shellshock (the lead singer of Crazy Town) is the guest singer here, and does an abysmal job. The lyrics bored more, and the hook made me cringe. The beat is easily Oakenfold's worst on the album. I couldn't bear to listen to this track after the first few album scans.

Rarely can I listen to an album from start to finish, over and over again, and only feel the need to skip one track. With 'Bunkka,' I'm proven that every once in a while, a creation like this is possible. Picking up 'Bunkka' would be an intelligent move for any fan of slick music.

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