Essential Asian Flavas
[outcaste]   review from dj pras  

With nothing exciting to show for quite a while, this "hot" new compilation from Outcaste may just be their saving grace. Keeping in mind that this compilation doesn't solve the basic need for some originality from this label, it does manage to pack a decent-almost-solid (if not powerful) punch.

Attracting the casual listener are names like Panjabi MC, Rishi Rich, Punjabi Hit Squad and Kam Dhillon. However, to the more discerning and eclectic listener, names such as Nitin Sawhney, Partners in Rhyme, Jakatta and Badmarsh+Shri stand out from the attractive back cover. The album gets the dance floor sweating with the hugely successful Panjabi MC hit "Mundian To Bach Ke" which has recently been creating major waves across Europe. Though, one must wonder what took the song this long to gather fame on the other side of the Atlantic. Rishi Rich is a good selection to this album with his remix of his own "Nahin Jeena." A song that stands out is Kam Dhillon's "Aaja Ni Aaja" with a simple yet effective mix of bhangra-plucks and carefully-manipulated vocals with some lite-danceability added. Afterlife's remix of Jakatta deserves some mention as does the rare Bonobo remix of Badmarsh+Shri's "Signs" which pumps with hard-hitting snare beats and street-laced samples.

The low points of this album are the songs "Yaar Dha" and the definite odd-one-out "In the Garden" which almost seems to be an advert for Outcaste's Bollywood Breaks Sampler. The only other thing that disappoints is the radio edit of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Tere Bin Nahi Lagda." The original much-longer-intro-and-outro is featured on the "Bend it Like Beckham" OST.

Overall, this album is a good addition to those who're looking to get the latest low-down into the nu-Bhangra/Hip Hop/DholnBass scene in the UK. It almost deserves a 4/5, but it was a let down with a couple of the songs being out of sync and my reason for buying the CD ("Tere Bin Nahi Lagda") being a shorter version of the immensely captivating original. However, as an afternote, the collection is beautifully concluded with Craig Armstrong's "Miracle" - a title which unfortunately cannot be bestowed on this compilation.

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  1. Panjabi MC :: Mundian To Bach Ke (Radio Edit)
  2. Rishi Rich :: Nahin Jeena (Remix)
  3. DJ H & Punjabi Outlawz :: Yaar Dha
  4. Kam Dhillon :: Aaja Ni Aaja (pick)
  5. Punjabi Hit Squad :: Hasdi Hasdi (Hit Squad Mix)
  6. S. Kaliwalia :: Kahendeh Neh Niana (A. Singh & El Nino Mix)
  7. Jakatta :: So Lonely (Afterlife Remix)
  8. Badmarsh & Shri :: Signs (Bonobo mix)
  9. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan :: Tere Bin Nahin Lagda (Partners In Rhyme Mix)
  10. Trickbaby :: Neelaa
  11. Nitin Sawhney :: Punjabi
  12. Orient Expressions :: Istanbul 1:26 A.M. (pick)
  13. Bollywood Breaks :: In The Garden
  14. Craig Armstrong featuring Swati Natekar :: Miraclepick