Asana 3 :: peaceful heart
review from dj advent
Asana: the execution of Yogic postures. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. Picture (but don't stare) naked yogis on the banks of the Ganges, their skin smeared with ashes from the cremation pyre to remind themselves of the body's impermanence, their foreheads painted with the insignia of Shiva, the god of destruction. These are the traditional practitioners of Asana. Twenty centuries later the eccentric Asana enthusiast's are the musicians who create the images of Yoga. Be it integrated in the modern lofts of N.Y. or the quiet streets of suburbia. Bill Laswell's newest compilation Asana 3 doesn't quite make an album for Yoga practice, but does effectively portray the audio textures of South Asia.
Being the 3rd in a series Asana has covered a lot of sonic ground. Fortunately with this release were spared from Material's Devata (vol.2) and Mantra (vol.1) redoux's with the same melody and tabla samples over-used in dozens of other originals. Which brings to mind: where does an artist draw the line when using the same samples in different releases? Regardless of the past, the newest installment is by far the strongest. It still draws on the neo hippie clichés and blunders delivering those of us who have heard "Om Shanti" too many times, to another chapter of Melodic & Melodramatic Mantras. Even still, hearing sexy "shanti" accompanied by electric guitars can be a surrealistic if not cacophonous experience. If that's your cup of chai, then look no further. There's no one who can do it better then these guys, and they make sure to fill in every track with modern mantra's.
When chosing producers for a compilation called "Asana 3" one would have to examine what Asana literally means. Basically it's a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation. Asha Puthli's "Asha," a Bhangra-Esque-Tech-House track, will definitely get people dancing. The movement of pumping yo' body like a dolphin on crack is a surefire way to attain physical strength and stamina. Bill Laswell's "Aman" is an excellent example of how one should use mantra samples to make the listener delve even deeper into Samadhi. Being such an extended, track the drum loops can become a monotonous drone, but the tabla makes it interesting enough from becoming boring. As usual he delivers, and I find this to be the highlight of the album and his best this year. Karsh Kale's "Oceanic" fit's the name to a tee. A flowing sporadic beat reminiscent of superbly produced IDM enhanced and improved by meditative mantra's and thunderous tabla's. Like the sun salutation, its prodigious series of movements is completely suffused with spiraling Prana. Those of us too busy for yoga can still do our Asanas... even if they comprise of putting on this album and turning the volume up. Way up.
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