DJ Cheb I Sabbah As Far As

Having established himself as a first-rate producer on Shri Durga and Krishna Lila, Cheb I Sabbah returns to his first love — DJing. The Algerian-born selector has been cutting wax since the ’60s and his hippie-mystic roots are obvious throughout this disc. With minimal turntablist acrobatics, As Far As is about the journey; the rise and fall of tempos, the deepening of moods and Sabbah’s explorative excursions into rhythms of all languages. Like his own records, the tracks here represent an even selection of electronic and traditional percussion. The set opens with Desi drum & bass from Solace, Indi-pop chanteuse Najma and Asian Dub Foundation. From there, Sabbah takes an unexpected ambient diversion with Paul Horn’s flute recordings from the Taj Mahal and his own "Pour Matoub.” The last half of the disc spins through the sounds of Don Cherry, Gnawa Impulse and the Turkish hip-hop of Makale. The difference between this type of global consciousness and Peter Gabriel’s is that the musicians here are uninhibited and vigorous in the energy they bring to their performances and for Sabbah, everything is contextualised with spiritual reverence. He does get a little too rosy at times, like the "love is the only miracle” mantra at the end of his own "Hari Om Narayan,” but then there are moments that like the two-minute collective chant by the South African Traditional Healers that bring such ideals to embodiment. (Six Degrees)