Suns of Arqa

Solar Activity: 1979-2001

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Released in 2001, 22 years after the band was established, this sprawling two-disc anthology collects some of the brightest moments from the deep and varied Suns of Arqa catalog. Those who love experimental worldbeat fusion, the Asian underground, and avant dub in general will want to seek out most, if not all, of the many titles represented here, but fans in the U.S. (where most of them are difficult to find) will welcome this package as the only way to get much of the material represented, as will anyone looking for a handy overview and introduction. The song titles hint at the kind of sonic and thematic variety you'll find here: "Acid Tabla Dub" (mixed and co-produced by the legendary Adrian Sherwood, a longtime Suns of Arqa supporter), "Basant Alap," "Children of Jamma" (presented here in a remix by the Orb), "There Is No Danger Here" (which features a creepy spoken word vocal). There is one cover version, an unlikely but fascinating arrangement of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," and there is one appropriation of material written by Gabriel Fauré, a selection from his Requiem, altered and titled "Paradisum in Dub." By this point in the review you already know what you're going to do -- either seek this album out no matter what the cost, or avoid it no matter what the cost. The former approach is strongly recommended.

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