PATHAAN :: INDIAN SUNSET
Even though he's the world's most prolific airline worker turned globe-trotting DJ, the name Farooq Ahmad Khan probably means nothing to you. But if you count yourself among the 'hipsters' - wannabe or otherwise - who proclaim to be chillout enthusiasts with a keen ear for laid-back sounds, then DJ Pathaan (as Khan is better known) has no doubt been your own personal Selecta for many a late night/early morning. From his legendary Ibiza sets to his Stoned Asia compilations, the name Pathaan is synonymous with Balearic beats and generally-downtempo sonics. Claude Challé, who?
Witness his latest endeavor: the two-disc Indian Sunset. Claiming to be "a definitive selection of Asiatic vibes and downtempo grooves," it is inspired both by the sun and the atmospheric vibes of India. I guess those vibes include those of the alcoholic kind, as evidenced by the full-page Kingfisher Premium Lager advertisement in the sleeve...
Sunset :: With a title like Indian Sunset, there are few more apt ways to open the mix than with the "Gayatri Mantra," a paean to the Sun. This Mantra is the essence of the Vedas but you can hardly tell with German-born new age chanteuse Deva Premal's heavily accented Sanskrit being reprised here twice. But not to fret, this may be the only lame moment among the commendable 27 track collection. Pathaan's own work shows up a few times, mainly in the guise of Orchestral World Groove. Both OWG's original tracks (including one with DDP), as well as the interpretation of Dusted's "Under The Sun" (from 2000's magnificently smooth When We Were Young) work well in keeping with the overall mellow mood. In particular, "Monsoon Tears," complete with Pathaan's Hindi spoken word, has one of those rolling bass-heavy melodies that captures the summer vibe perfectly. "Meena," by Gaudi, the other half of OWG, is one of the more uplifting moments of the mix and it blends perfectly into another highlight, "Raja Mati." Black Star Liner's now classic "Harmon Session Special" is a welcome ingredient in the mix and once again proves that the enigmatic Leeds band set the standard for dub-fuelled Eastern electronics, all the way back in the mid 90's, much before the world had witnessed the Anokha phenonmenon.
Sunrise :: Disc II is a much more Balearic affair, chock full of Eastern strings, summery atmospherics and downright tasteful grooves. You can almost see why Pathaan divided up the 27 tracks into two mixes - we're almost expected to catch a second wind after the first disc and this mix is the perfect aid to do just that. In full effect are Thievery Corp favorites Thunderball with their sitar-laden retro harmonies. Pathaan has brought the sounds of DC's famed Eighteenth Street Lounge straight to your home. Trickbaby's bhangra-fied "Neelaa" is an Indo-Arab mashup with one mission: to make you shake ya tailfeather. Needless to say, the tempo has picked up and both "Delhi News" and "Drippy" beg to be turned up. Karsh's transcendent instrumental "Cinematic Reprise" brings the mix to a perfect end.