Two Japanese DJs team up with a French DJ to release acid-jazz records heavily rooted in bossanova…. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke doesn’t it? Generally, United Future Organization’s Bon Voyage is little more than a bad joke — the epitome of novelty dance music in the Pizzicato Five, or even Brand New Heavies (egads!) vein. However, Bon Voyage shows ever-so-fleeting glimpses of the loungey, crime-film soundtrack jazz which makes Dimitri from Paris so winning. The album begins with the disastrous “Tres Amigos”. The song babbles for an endless six minutes of knock-off Brazilian rhythms (the album art also somewhat shamefully features photographs of the three DJs with a map of Brazil as background). The only redeeming quality is that it reminds me of the Sex and the City theme music, which is also lousy but at least it reminds me of Sex and the City which is excellent — however, such a lengthy chain of causation is not exactly what I’m looking for. “Somewhere” is even worse as it doesn’t hint at Sex and the City or any other stellar television.
So by the time the third track — “Good Luck Shore” which is truly excellent (Gainsbourg samples, pouncing percussion and a hook-filled string of vocal splices) — rolls around, I’m generally so exhausted that I’m too impatient to separate the good from the abhorrent for the remainder of the record (UFO provides little middle ground). While UFO, with Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals, prepares a steaming take of bopmaster James Moody’s composition “Flying Saucer”, they all too readily regress into the world music, chain coffee shop background noise excess of “Pilgrims”.
Any listener who perseveres through the tandem of “Labyrinth — Enter at Your Own Risk” (Yes, that’s really the title and it fits the song most snugly) and “Happy Birthday” to endure the alleged “bonus track”, the “Organic Audio Mix” of “Tres Amigos” is a masochist.