Most Asian-European dance fusion of the '90s has come from London's Asian Underground scene, and has drawn primarily on bhangra sources for its Asian content. DJ Cheb i Sabbah's project, on the other hand, is based on classical traditions, specifically the Hindustani music of northern India; perhaps not surprisingly, the music is accordingly less dancehall-oriented, though DJ Cheb (with the help of bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Kevin Carnes, among others) does indeed lay on the funky beats in most cases. But all of the compositions are based on traditional ragas, and the beats often come after prolonged and contemplative preludes, during which the raga is stated in its traditional vocal or traditional setting. On "Ganga Dev," for example, the singer starts off accompanied only by a drone, and is then joined by tabla and sitar after a couple of minutes, and only then do Laswell's bass and Carnes' drums come in to funk things up. Most tracks follow this pattern, and the overall effect is more soothing than booty-moving. If you want to party, pick up Maha Maya, the companion album to this one which features many of the same compositions in clubbier mixes. This one's for the chill-out room. Both are highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson
feat: Mala Ganguly