Various Spirit of India - A Pure Selection of Electronic Indian Vibes

French label Wagram's release is a two-CD compilation of 30 tracks in total, capturing some of the best-known names in the "Asian" scene. The compilation in its entirety is hardly what one may call "the spirit of India" - a misnomer one wouldn't expect to encounter in such a universally self-aware, "global" context. Most of the tracks are slipshod with lazily programmed beats rather carelessly pasted together with sitar samples and tabla touches. It is the usual cosmetic touches to add the "Indian" mood that is becoming boringly frequent in the dance industry. Avid fans are probably better off getting Sawhney's Homelands, Transglobal Underground's Rejoice, Rejoice, and any one of Badmarsh and Shri, Fun Da Mental or Asian Dub Foundation albums to sample the full selection of sounds those musicians have to offer, rather than hearing disparate samples in a very uneven compilation. Sawhney's "Can't Find," remixed here by Joe Claussell, is a beautiful, heartfelt and textured track. However, the highlights are Transglobal Underground's collaboration with Natacha Atlas on "Ali Mulla" (from 1998's Rejoice Rejoice) - a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan inspired qawwali song. The other surprise tucked into the near end of CD two is Mukherjee and the Madras Cinematic Orchestra's "Kirwani" (remixed by Badmarsh and Shri). It recalls one of Talvin Singh's orchestral, film soundtrack-like pieces from the album OK. The string orchestra's urgent composition is phenomenally well balanced with searing, heart-stopping beats. A compilation full of creative compositions of this kind would be wholly capturing the "spirit of India," far better than Wagram's poor effort. (Wagram)