Enduser :: Bollywood Breaks
[ad noiseam]   review from shree  

If I'd come across Enduser's Bollywood Breaks in a record store without knowing anything about the artist - which I didn't - I'd have undoubtedly moved right past it. On it, a bare midriff is caught mid-dance, a midriff that could be used to promote any number of generic Bollywood/Bhangra/Indipop/(insert favorite Desi genre here) releases. But generic is the least appropriate description that comes to mind as six of the most ingenious and unsettling marriages of East and West come clattering (and I mean that in every sense of the word) through the speakers.

NYC based Lynn Standafer is already well established in breakcore (hardcore breaks, get it?) circles with dozens of 12"s and remixes in his past. This, his first official foray into South Asian sounds, takes the Bollywood sounds of yesteryear and mashes it with rough, distorted breakbeat programming. Three original tracks and three remixes later, any previously held conceptions of Bollywood music being easy-listening is left crushed. "Not So Distant Drums" begins the EP with effects-laden drum programming not very different from recent Bhangra records but soon moves into jagged beats so violent that those uninitiated in the ways of breakcore may check their speakers for defects. The vocal sample, the heart of the composition, is left somewhat intact with its melancholia punctured by the mix. Breaks built around the sample of a Bollywood track may not sound either revolutionary or worthy of mention but Enduser's treatment is a perfect technologically enhanced paean to the biggest movie industry in the world. Drill n' bass is the M.O. on "No Wisdom" and "Not Here" - think Aphex Twin circa Come to Daddy. Industrial strength beat programming overpowers the vocal samples, which take the backseat on both compositions; "Not Here" allows tablas, sitars and devotional vocals into the mix just long enough before the beats take over again.

The Mad E.P. and Larvae remixes add a bit of hip-hop flavor to the originals. Larvae's edit sounds typically filmi starting out, then switches gear as if the Warp guys got hold of A.R. Rahman's back catalogue. One track that should and will be caned by any self respecting DJ in this genre is Line47's "Vishnu's Eastern Block Remix" of "Not So Distant Drums" as it is the most dance floor friendly and well structured of the lot. Ominous drums enter at 0:30, vocals at 0:54 and pounding breaks at 1:15 and you have the makings of a modern day electronic classic. Yes, that was the sound of the rest of the Asian breaks massive shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

Caution: A partial loss of hearing and rhythm may occur when listening to this EP, at any volume.

ethnotechno rating: 5 out of 5
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  1. not so distant drums (pick)
  2. no wisdom (pick)
  3. not here (pick)
  4. mad e.p. remix: return of the kourma lover
  5. larvae remix: more distant than you think
  6. line47 remix: vishnu's eastern block (pick)