Bally Sagoo

Wham Bam 2: The 2nd Massacre

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In which Bally Sagoo hits the remix board with full creative control in 1992 on a label aimed at his homies, the young Anglo-Indian subcontinent crew who were making bhangra up as it went along, before anyone else was going on about Bollywood or bending it like Beckham. Wham Bam 2: The 2nd Massacre is a forum for Sagoo to flex his mixology muscles for the audience his music was originally created for and mattered to -- and working with his peers to creatively stretch the form with new elements. It's mix-and-match time with an Indian twist, as "Har Gunga (Underground Mix)" combines hip-hop and ragga, turntable scratches and house piano licks. Sagoo's basic trick is working with Asian melodies over a smorgasbord of international dance rhythms, and while the approach falls close to the kitchen sink, he's savvy enough to keep it from foundering. "Boliyaan (Dance Hall Mix)" is far more house than reggae with keyboard bass and symphonic atmospherics to start off, but it shifts over to a Jamaican dancehall riddim halfway through. "Merea Launcg Gawacha (Kick Ass Techno Mix)" has the drum machine cranked at jungle speed and the Jamaican flavor makes it come out more drum'n'bass than anything. The shift to Indian vocalist Rama extends the mix here (another favorite Sagoo technique) but the singing on "Oh Yaaro Kaun Nachdi (Sweet Mix)" would probably be ID'ed as Algerian rai in a blindfold sound test by anyone who didn't know their languages, or that it's a Bally Sagoo disc.

"Lut Ke Lae Kayee" is hip-hop, marked by Cheshire Cat's high speed rap, James Brown-cum-Trouble Funk scratch rhythm guitar, and scratching and Indian melodic strands with Jamaican ragga delivery sneaking in. Then some bogle beat (from "Murder She Wrote") with guitar licks and familiar string things kicking in (it may be Khalèd's "Didi," so maybe Bally was just into rai at this point) and we're off on a journey of unexpected twists and turns. But things get swinging with "The Massacre (Renew Ya Woofer Mix)," "Haragunga (Rap Mix)," and the space bloop jungle noises of "Mera Laung Gawacha (Dub Mix)" which veers off on a techno tangent. Sagoo recovers some with tuneful guitar/keyboard melody hooks on "Oh Yaaro Kaun Nachdi (Instrumental)" and "Lut Ke Lae Gayee (Rap Mix)" works the Indian and bogle guitar hook tips harder. So only six different pieces here but four alternate mixes are distinct enough to stand on their own in this context of deejay culture and mix world. Wham Bam 2 may not be the most essential release for this phase of Sagoo's career -- Bally Sagoo on the Mix: The Story So Far is probably still the best introduction. But it's an illuminating look at the deejay's creative process and influences when Bally Sagoo was still looking to his original core listeners.