Nitin Sawhney


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Prophesy sees Nitin Sawhney once again crafting a concept album. But unlike its subtle, pacifistic predecessor, Beyond Skin, Prophesy suffers from its concept to its execution. The very premise of the album is flawed; it's an overproduced, synthetic-sounding treatise against technology. Sawhney is certainly no Luddite, as every beat and lush string pattern is infused with computer trickery. Never has a concept album seemed so hypocritical at its very core. Getting past the weak concept, the music lacks the passion and energy of Beyond Skin. Whether Sawhney mimics Enigma's new age mysticism on "Moonrise," Asian Dub Foundation's rap-rock hybrid aggression on "Ripping Out Tears," or David Holmes' cut-and-paste rawness on the two parts of "Street Guru," he seems to have rushed too hastily around the world and through his own message's outline, making for an awkward result that lacks cohesion, conviction, and interest. The two "Street Guru" songs are perfect examples of where Sawhney went wrong. Artists from Godspeed You Black Emperor to the aforementioned David Holmes have used fire-and-brimstone man-on-the-street rants as samples in their music to dramatic effect. Here, Sawhney has interviewed an angry Chicago taxi driver who spews random profanity about cell phones and the Internet; it's not effective, enlightening, or humorous, and the background music doesn't provide an interesting counterpoint for the message. Where Beyond Skin blended exotic sounds and beautiful vocal performances into a snarling beast of emotional, elegant melodicism, Prophesy languishes in weak ideas and an even weaker concept. Prophesy is a disappointing misstep.

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