Various Artists

Essential Lounge: Bombay

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Another in the Passport Series put out by UBL Music, Essential Lounge: Bombay compiles 24 songs on two discs that use more traditional Indian and Asian musical elements mixed with Western electronica. Not a unique concept -- many of the artists included on the album, like Thievery Corporation, Jah Wobble, and Natacha Atlas, have been doing this kind of thing for years -- but when it's done right, it can be quite stunning. The selections on Essential Lounge: Bombay are well-chosen, though the distinction of "Bombay" seems rather broad (perhaps pan-Asian would be more accurate). Still, there are good, downtempo grooves and haunting synthesizers (though the sitar-funk cover of James Brown's "Same Beat" by Bill "Ravi" Harris & the Prophets moves away a bit from that, and despite its quality, doesn't quite fit with the rest of the album, sounding rather out of place) that create a nice, nocturnal atmosphere, and while perhaps the songs are not exactly or completely indicative of Bombay, they'll at least stimulate the mind into thinking about Indian- and Asian-inspired musics, which might just be the point of the record, after all.

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