Various Artists

Buddha Lounge, Vol. 4

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The fourth installment in the Sequoia label's Buddha Lounge series continues to aim its warm, soothing grooves and funky, exotic beats at those who like the Buddha Bar series but find it sometimes just a bit too hard or decadent. The emphasis here is on a worldbeat ambience that tiptoes up to the edge of new age mysticism but avoids committing to it, instead staying firmly in the real world of solid (but not too assertive) dance beats and multicultural vocal traditions. Call it chillout, or techno-lounge, or even easy listening; it all comes down to the same thing, and you're lying if you say it never hits the spot. The tracks that hit the spot particularly nicely this time out are Achillea's "Cape Porcupine," Nasser Kilada's cool and dark "Samah," and the faintly jazzy "In for the Night (Buddha Edit)" by the Moontrane Conductors. One at Last contributes one of the stranger outings on this collection, a pretty and vaguely Indian number called "Hamana Nale (Lotus Mix)," which is marred only by a rather weird-sounding slide guitar. Recommended overall.

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