Talvin Singh :: Back to Mine
'A personal collection for after hours grooving,' is how this incredible series of chillout/downtempo compilations is marketed. In a genre that is over-saturated with weak attempts at "chillout cool," the Back To Mine series is a welcome addition. Tablatronic pioneer Talvin's contribution is one of the highlights of an already great series.
"Weather Storm" by Craig Armstrong may sound familiar to fans of Massive Attack. Its no coincidence - Armstrong arranged a lot of the string pieces and contributed his piano skills to Massive's 1994 album "Protection." This particular track is even on that album, in a slightly more spliffed out, dub version. Both are true chillout classics. Mandolin maestro U. Srinivas and Nusrat collaborator Michael Brook bring some East-West fusion next with the almost 10 minute long "Dance". "Song of Sand II" by obscure (to me, at least!) Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvaer gets the dub treatment by the always excellent, Birmingham based, Rockers Hi-Fi. Great head-nodding material. "Delta" by ambient-techno noisemakers, Higher Intelligence Agency (random fact: ADF's Chandrasonic was a founding member), is full of broken beats and electronic squelches. A little hard to get your head around, especially if you're not used to the genre. Trilok Gurtu's meditative "Om" is a nice half-way point. Photek, usually known for his innovative drum n' bass, serves up a chilled slice of trip hop with eerie vocals on "Lost Blue Heaven." The only shortcoming is that this track is too short to fully appreciate.
Want something more traditional or ethnic? Try the blues-y African rhythm of "Mali Dje," by Mali born guitarist Ali Farka Toure, on for size. Gotta love Talvin for breaking down those boundaries and not restricting himself. Closing out this incredible set is another classic in the chillout genre, Massive Attack's re-working of "Mustt Mustt," a remix that introduced the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to a whole new audience, the electronica generation. Just goes to show how ahead of his time the Ustad really was.
Taken as a whole, Talvin's set is up there with other brilliant contributions to the Back to Mine series (Faithless and Groove Armada). Do yourself a favor; pick up this treasure and slip into true chillout cool. Just make sure to dim the lights.