This compilation project, from David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint, brings together a collection of French musicians who are working a rootsy style the French press has dubbed neo realisme.

This compilation project, from David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint, brings together a collection of French musicians who are working a rootsy style the French press has dubbed neo realisme. For U.S. world-music fans, the most recognizable group in the neo realisme movement is probably Lo-Jo, and, indeed, Lo-Jo is represented on this CD: "Brûlé la mèche" and "Baji larabat." What's happening with all these acts is a meeting of the French chanson and musette traditions and modern electronica, Algerian rai and funk. This is incredibly appealing music with an intimate, very hip, 21st-century-cabaret feel. Ear-catching tracks include Java's hip-hop-inspired "Au banquet des chasseurs," the subtle groove of Louise Attaque's "Du nord au sud," and the rive-gauche romanticism of Ignatus' "La politique." One of the most consistently enthralling world-music compilations of 2002.—PVV