Various Artists

Buddha Lounge, Vol. 2

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This second volume of Buddha Lounge delivers another round of mildly intoxicating new age grooves, continuously mixed for maximum chill. But while there are some standout moments, the album is hampered by an overriding blandness. Almost exclusively instrumental, most of the 13 tracks sound basically the same, despite being from different Sequoia Records artists. Despite its reliance on Jan Hammer-style synthesizer beds, Ginko Garden does spice "Blossoms from India" with touches of tabla and traditional instrumentation, and Jaya Lakshmi's "Sundara," with its upbeat fusion of Latin and Indian styles, suggests the accessible worldbeat pop of Shakira. New age veterans, brothers, and founders of the Sequoia label, Steve & David Gordon contribute two pieces to Buddha Lounge, Vol. 2; neither is particularly noteworthy, offering familiar takes on the new age groove formula. Better is "Balance Dance," an individual Steve Gordon piece that features acoustic percussion, didgeridoo, and a spacy flute loop. It's like Euro-house during a power outage. But too much of Buddha Lounge, Vol. 2 is too creatively watered down for dance, yet too much of a worldbeat cocktail for the relaxation/meditation crowd.

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