Various Mystic Groove

There have been a number of compilations released recently that bring together remixed tracks under some generic leitmotif or other. Either it is the sounds of "Asia" or the "Middle East" or there is a common undercurrent such as a "mystical groove" to the tracks that merits drawing them into one compilation. Bruno Guez conceives this mix under the Quango label. Complaints aside, you can still pick a few gems from the crude generalisations and treat them as worthwhile singles. It features all the expected artists, from Nitin Sawhney and Thievery Corporation to MC Sultan, aka Dzihan and Kamien. It is also those musicians who pull off the memorable tracks in the overall melange. The compilation in its entirety has a mellow, instrumental groove to it, the kind of album you throw on at dusk and listen to while the day ends. Sawhney's track is less a "song" and more bricolage, bringing together mantra and bajan singing, oceanic sounds and street noises to a serene classical Hindustani vocal refrain. The MC Sultan and Dzihan & Kamien tracks are back-to-back and pay tribute to the duo's love of Turkish instrumentation, particularly the percussive aspect of the music. It's like listening to a mellow and less broken version of Muslimgauze's heavily Arabic-influenced music. The best track on this CD, however, is by the Turkish-Egyptian classically trained musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Remixed with a brooding bass overtone, it features his skills in both Arabic and Turkish instrumentation and acts as a hint to seek out more of his work. (Rykopalm)