Various Artists

Asian Travels, Vol. 2: A Six Degrees Collection

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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.

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