Various Asian Travels

A more apt title for this compilation would be Asians Travelling. Almost all ten tracks here are either dance remixes or experiments in fusion - in other words, South Asian sounds in a Western diasporic context. The selections are eclectic though and they come from a diverse range of styles: electronic dance (State of Bengal, Joi, Talvin Singh and Kingsuk Biswas), pop-ghazal (Najma Akhtar), and jazz (Shankar). The quality is for the most part pretty good, but one could also argue that the ideas don't sound very unique. Aside from the East-West exchange, there aren't really any new concepts being introduced here (most of the tracks are older than two years). The strongest cut ironically comes from Fila Brazilia, "Soft Music Under the Stars." Except for the sitar-rock guitar opening, it doesn't really have anything to do with South Asian culture - it's just a really experimental groove with a soothing sound. Bob Holroyd's melancholic trip-hop excursion, "A Different Space" has a similar feel. Again, some good tracks, but the compilers of this disc need to update themselves with what these and other names are doing. (Six Degrees)