Asian Travels, Vol. 2: A Six Degrees Collection

Asian Travels, Vol. 2: A Six Degrees Collection

     
 

Those wondering what happened to the U.K.'s lauded late-'90s Asian Underground scene will find some answers on Asian Travels 2. (The album, like the scene, uses "Asian" in the British sense of subcontinental -- think India, Pakistan, and Tibet rather than China, Korea, and Japan.) Once the politically motivated musical manifesto of a flourishing youth culture,See more details below

Overview

Those wondering what happened to the U.K.'s lauded late-'90s Asian Underground scene will find some answers on Asian Travels 2. (The album, like the scene, uses "Asian" in the British sense of subcontinental -- think India, Pakistan, and Tibet rather than China, Korea, and Japan.) Once the politically motivated musical manifesto of a flourishing youth culture, the sound of the underground -- chattering tabla beats over then-courant drum 'n' bass, wrapped in sitars and Bollywood samples -- has spilled over into the broader realm of electronic music, from dub to drum 'n' bass to big beat, not to mention film soundtracks and advertising. An exotica craze for the 21st century, these motifs can be found nearly everywhere, from new age chill-out tracks such as Govinda's "Slow Devotion" to the jazzy worldbeat of Outside's "Red Earth" to the pioneering trance music of electronica vet Banco de Gaia (represented here by a rare remix of "How Much Reality Can You Take?"). In its ubiquity, the music no longer packs the same heat for fickle British audiences, but the movement's mix of identity politics and dance beats has taken root outside of England. New York percussionist Karsh Kale and New Delhi DJs/producers MIDIval PunditZ take both to heart. Kale, who's teamed with tabla maestro Zakir Hussein and recorded with jazz vets in Bill Laswell's orbit, takes a mathematical approach to heady rhythms, while the PunditZ spread the word back in the motherland. "Aaja re'" sports a junglist breakbeat and a vocal by the queen of Bollywood cinema pop, Lata Mangeshkar. For a wide-ranging journey through the Asian aboveground, Asian Travels 2 is a relentlessly hip and seductive guide.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
The second volume in the Six Degrees label's Asian Travels series again takes the listener deep into the wilds of Indian and Pakistani dance music, from the high-energy house flavor of Karsh Kale's "Distance (Banco de Gaia Remix)" through the Celtic-Indian-Spanish fusion of Govinda (with "Slow Devotion") to the adapted devotional musings of DJ Cheb I Sabbah's "Tum Bin Shyam." Just about everything here is intriguing, and the variety of moods is noteworthy: Outside's jungle-flavored "Red Earth" segues into Govinda's quieter and more restrained contribution, which in turn gives way to the darker and more jittery "Aaja Re," which features eerily gorgeous female vocals. The British collective Jairamji contributes the trippy and sample-rich "Swaragami," and globe-trotting musical universalist Bob Holroyd gets all trip-hoppy on the distinctly down-tempo "Adrift in Kerala." It would have been interesting to hear some similar treatments of source material from elsewhere in Asia as well -- Tibet, say, or the Pacific Rim. But maybe that's a subject for a future compilation. There's certainly no faulting this one on its musical merits.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/14/2002
Label:
Six Degrees
UPC:
0657036106925
catalogNumber:
1069

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