MIDIval PunditZ :: Remixed
[six degrees]   review from shree  

These guys can't release full length albums fast enough, so to tide us over until the next one, Six Degrees has brought out a nine track remix package and in true 6D fashion (see La Kahena), the remixes cover all the key electronica sub-genres (breaks / house / trance / downtempo). Exclusive re-interpretations from both their self-titled debut as well as from MIDIval Times are here.

The edgier side of electronica is represented heavily - the first five tracks all have strong breakbeats at their cores. Both of the PunditZ have a go at remixing two of the better tracks from MIDIval Times. "Ali" was a gorgeous Sufi-techno masterpiece with an unmistakeably stealthy, synth-driven bassline; Tapan Raj straddles the fence between house and trance via his raging Deep Blue Mix, keeping much of Kailash Kher's vocals intact. The synth goes deeper, darker and fatter on this one. Groovio (formerly known as Gaurav Raina) employs much of the same tactics on his mix of "Kesariya," adding a tribal percussion early in the track that improves greatly on the original.

If there was one live act that blew everyone's minds at the first ever Indian Electronica festival in August 2006 (London) it was Udyan and Mayur's Bandish Projekt. The duo's next LP, due sometime in '07, could possibly be the most highly anticipated release to come 'round these parts. Their signature, percussion-fuelled, electro-breaks takes the moody, orchestral ambience of "Night" and turns it into something that is quintessentially Bandish Projekt.

"136," off the sophomore album, featured Vishal Vaid on Urdu vocals and the inimitable Ajay Naidu (delivering his best spoken word verses to date), via an anthemic house-meets-breaks backdrop. Producer and long-time PunditZ associate, Jayant Luthra cuts, pastes and tweaks it into something almost entirely unrecognizable, but still groovy enough to be played at your next friendly neighborhood breakbeat night. Gautam's Downtempo Mix does away with Naidu's vocals completely and transforms the same track into a late night come-downer; the two remixes could not be more dissimilar in scope and execution.

Epic album closer off the PunditZ debut, "Dark Age," gets two remixes as well; again, one vastly different in style from the other. If the sublime Karsh Kale Remix sounds familiar, it's because you've heard it in altered form on Broken English as "Beautiful," only with new added English lyrics. Much less inspiring is the psychedelic trance of Audialize whose throbbing beats may be more suited for a Goa rave than this collection. Psy-trance is again the protocol on Son Kite's mix of "Raanjhan". The PunditZ once did an unusually stirring remix of Son Kite's "On Air" but sadly, the Swedish outfit doesn't return the favour well.

New Delhi based (and comically named) Jalebee Cartel is a five man crew of producers and DJs, each rather prolific in their own right. They repackage "Raanjhan" into a bass heavy, mid-tempo, electronic groove. Sounds like almost all the equalizers and knobs were turned way up from the original on this one. Look out for these guys in the future (and until then on MySpace); sure to be making a dent in electronica soon.

Other than a couple of missteps in the shape of hard trance re-workings, MIDIval PunditZ Remixed is just an example of how admired Raj and Raina have come to be in what they do with just two full-length albums under their belts. May the Cyber-Mehfils continue without interruption...

ethnotechno rating: 3.5 out of 5
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  1. Ali -Tapan's Deep Blue Mix
  2. Night -Bandish Projekt Club Mix (pick)
  3. 136 -Jayant's Breaks Mix (pick)
  4. Raanjhan -Jalebee Bass for Breakfast Mix (pick)
  5. kesariya -Groovio's This Thing Mix
  6. Dark Age -Audialize Super Psy-Remix
  7. Raanjhan -Son Kite Remix
  8. Dark Age -Karsh Kale Remix (pick)
  9. 136 -Gautam's Downtempo Mix