Biddu Orchestra

Blue Eyed Soul: The Best of Biddu Orchestra

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This interesting collection covers the solo work of Biddu, an Indian-born producer who scored his greatest success producing dance music in England during the 1970s. He was best known for the hits he crafted for other artists, the most notable U.S. success being "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas, but he also produced quite a bit of music on his own through his solo outlet, Biddu Orchestra. This compilation includes British chart hits like his reinterpretations of the themes from "Summer of '42" and "Exodus," plus a number of original tracks. The music is mostly instrumental in nature, going for an MFSB-styled sound where soaring orchestrations float atop a steady beat churned out by the rhythm section. Although designed for the dancefloor, the songs benefit from short running times that keep the music tight and slick arrangements that highlight their pop hooks. There is also an interesting Indian element to some of the tracks like "Disco Dewanee" and "Eastern Journey," which blend Middle-Eastern melodies and instruments like sitar and tablas into the music's soulful grooves. The problems with this collection is that some of the songs are a little too derivative for their own good ("Black Magic Man" is built on a horn riff that sounds suspiciously close to that of "The Hustle" by Van McCoy) and the fact that Biddu repeats a lot of the same arrangement tricks on track after track, the most obvious one being his habit of building up a thick orchestration only to suddenly strip it all away so he can highlight the rhythm section's groove. Just the same, this generous retrospective is a worthwhile listen for anyone interested in Eurodisco.

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