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'03, Oh My!

Our critics weigh in on a questionable yearís best music

7. Cedric 'Im Brooks & the Light of Saba, Cedric 'Im Brooks & the Light of Saba: This disc is packed to overflowing with rocksteady, niyabinghi, dancehall and early ska by one of the most talented, underexposed groups to come from Jamaica. Of special note are Brooks' horn arrangements, informed by his association with and admiration of Sun Ra. A special pleasure was derived from the large number of instrumentals present. Very saucy, slack, prototypical Jamaican jazz.

8. Otomo Yoshihide, We Insist?: On this re-release, Japanese noise luminary Otomo Yoshihide goes completely apeshit with Eye Yamatsuka, Junji Hirose and seven other maladjusted purveyors of skronk from Nippon. Turntables, tape machines, samplers, guitars, horns, piano and bass all collide and deconstruct waves of stutter and screech. Your brain will fart.

9. The Monks of Sherab Ling Monastery, Sacred Tibetan Chant:Here's a bunch of bald, shrimpy Tibetan guys whose drones and warbles on this disc earned them a Grammy nomination. This is way trancy, extreme vocal music at its purest. And if you listen to it loudly enough, it's also a soothing, chemical-free laxative.

10. Shafqat Ali Khan, Sublime Sufi: Hearing qawwali devotional music is like hearing people flying. The amazing qawwal prodigy Ali Khan goes beyond tradition on this disc by combining modern jazz instruments with centuries-old compositional styles of ghazal, raga and Sufi poetry. You'll execute a few double-takes during the course of this one.

Correction published in the 1/14/04 Radar Station: In the original version of this story, we inadvertently credited the wrong local producers for the work done on the J-Kwon single "Tipsy." The above version reflects the corrected text.

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