Attac! Another World is Possible

Here’s an album that embodies contradiction. Indeed, Another World wears it in the form of a bar-coded atlas – right on its very handsome sleeve.

Nothing could be worthier or more radical than anti-globalization collective Attac – an impressively organized group that has taken full advantage of internet communications to promote its ideas. It’s just a pity that the content doesn’t match the intentions. Which is not to say Another World is a dummy. Its sleeve includes an integral 60-page booklet containing essays by fellow travellers like Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and McDonald’s trashing farmer José Bové. Its 15 tracks are pretty good, too: Asian Dub Foundation and Zebda’s ‘Police on My Back’; Moby’s ‘Afterlife’ and Nitin Sawhney’s ‘Falling (at Jazz Dub)’. Some of them will be familiar; from their original releases or from the plethora of compilation albums circulating the world. Massive Attack’s ‘Karmacoma’ has probably now appeared on so many collections one could host a game of snap.

Of course this isn’t Attac’s problem, per se: they can only work with what they’re given. But is what they’re given governed by the management and record companies whose interest lies in restricted release? Compilations are a cheap way of revenue-raising. It doesn’t take much imagination – look at the Help! album used to raise funds for the Warchild charity – to get unreleased tracks, out-takes or one-offs. Now that would be truly radical.

New Internationalist issue 370 magazine cover This article is from the August 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
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