Shalom :: The Missing Peace
Shalom: The Missing Peace is a compilation that's a lot like a slamming mix tape from a really cool friend. Curated by musican-producers Tapan Raj and Gaurav Raina, artists together known as the MIDIval PunditZ, the compilation features ten independently strong songs hand-picked by the duo. The track-listing cuts through the din of the 'lounge' genre, which is overpopulated with unmoving, sleepy, or just plain boring sounds-and serves up the crème de la crème of dynamic chill.
A joint venture between the PunditZ and the Mediterranean-spiced Delhi spot Shalom, The Missing Peace offers a taste of the life of the Delhi lounge-dweller; a passport to the city's nightlife. But primarily, it is a peek into the PunditZ' varied music collections: a dose of dub here, the mandatory Asian electronica there, with a dimension of psychedelia teetering around the edges. Each lengthy track is a journey all on its own: the pace and flavor changes within songs, resulting in a collection of gently undulating moods.
The comp's first two tracks are exceptions: the flute-and-sitar dance of the PunditZ' mix of Son Kite's "On Air" maintains a steady vibe throughout, as does the lounge ballad of Naada's "Raja Mati," which is striking for its wistful, distorted vocals. The gossamer third track (Shalom mix of "Estha") by J. Views, with its addictively cascading sitar riff, is one of the more memorable songs on the compilation.
The Missing Peace winds to the familiar and epic with Karsh Kale's "Letting Go," a track which skillfully marries shanthi vocals with rhythms of energy to kick up the pace of the album. The PunditZ chime in halfway through the comp with the awesome "Breakthrough," which flickers with a dark, latently psychedelic force even as ethereal vocals occasionally rise to obscure it.
Jayant's "Air Massive" delves into heavier territory and maintains the tone of the preceding track with some tweaked-out samples, while OTT's "Splitting an Atom" delivers the necessary dub chill to the collection. Earthy vocals, elastic beats and intermittent trippy effects make this pick one of OTT's finest: the kind of track that would hold together any mix. The PunditZ aptly place Shulman's dub drifter "The Unexpected Visitor" next, to create a gentle shift into chiller terrain. Though a lovely track with uplifting spots, it nears the ten-minute mark and sometimes tends to lose the listener in its wandering moments.
Boombay Central's "Afterburn" initially masquerades as a chill song, but manages to flex in deeper pulsations before the last word: Karsh Kale's pattering remix of the Punditz' "Dark Age." The remix tops off the compilation with a thoughtful blend of halting beats and homeland vocals, equal parts shimmering chill and unpredictable rhythm, and fits in as the "missing peace" to a varied yet harmonious collection.