David Visan

Buddha-Bar, Vol. 4

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The Buddha Bar series has become a band name by now, and Buddha Bar, Vol. 4 does nothing to break the new tradition. Compiled by David Visan, the two-CD set is divided into "Dinner" and "Drink." The former is definitely music for the consumption of comestibles, pleasant and polite with exotic touches of world music, like Nitin Sawhney's "Moonrise" or Gotan Project's revolution of the tango with "Una Musical Brutal," but they're the mildest examples of the artists' output, never pushing themselves forward, but providing a backdrop for food and civilized conversation. "Drink" fares a little better, but has traces of anonymity -- Time Passing with "Party People," for example, or Chris Spheeris and "Dancing With The Muse" could both come from a modern TV ad -- although its less afraid of imposing itself, with the delightful Panjabi Mc, whose track is gleefully annoying, and Loving Paris, who offer "Loco," which is exactly that. Egyptian heartthrob Amr Diab comes across as glossier than usual in this setting, while salsa diva Celia Cruz contributing a version of "I Will Survive" is one of the musical standouts -- the song translates surprisingly well to her genre. Still, it's a disc without rhyme or reason, and bizarrely sequenced, with little sense of movement, just a random bunch of tracks slung together without a great deal of thought. Overall, a moderate success only.

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