Reviews

Bombay Dub Orchestra

A name like Bombay Dub Orchestra whets the appetite with an expectation of exotic delights beyond compare — a hybrid of dub reggae, Bollywood pop madness, and electronica, a tsunami of global beats to wash away the humdrum riddims of a typical night out clubbing. BDO's Andrew T. Mackay and Garry Hughes have played with and produced folks like Sly & Robbie, Art of Noise, and Bobbi Cespedes, so expectations were high. The propaganda that accompanies this two-CD set talks about a lush 28-piece classical Indian string section and promises exotic moods a-plenty, but on disc one — Bombay — the mix is anything but breathtaking. The bansuri (wooden flute) hook in "Mumtaz" is catchy, and the male vocal improvisations in "Feel" break through the ennui, but most of this disc sounds like the kind of music pumped into new-age stores to create a soothing shopping environment. The remixes on the Dub CD serve up more of what the title promises: bud beats and instruments dancing through a delirious ocean of classical strings. "Beauty and the East: Marine Drive Traffic Jam" works by blending Indian percussion and swooning string washes that provide plenty of dynamic movement. "Rare Earth: Forest of Thieves Mix" rides a loping reggae riddim accented by Seventies-style German space music before fading out with some dreamy sitar work, while "Remembrance: Fires Remix" is a languid, loungy track with smoky electric piano dancing through the mix.

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J. Poet