[outcaste]   review from shree  

Untouchability, or the imposition of social disabilities on people on the grounds of their birth in certain castes, has had a major role in the Hindu way of life, whether we like to admit it or not, for as long as any one of us can remember. While I'm sure the suits at Outcaste named their series of groundbreaking East-West blends as a reference to how dope the cuts are (or at least how dope they were), its hard to ignore the fact that they've taken the negative connotation to an extreme and flipped it. On to the tunes...

"The Calling," a relatively mellow, atmospheric affair, sets the overall mood for the disc. Badmarsh & Shri have always been the torchbearers of the Outcaste sound and rightly so. With "The Asian Detective" they've composed the perfect soundtrack to an as yet unrealized Indian crime saga, complete with menacing strings and a driving bassline. With the inclusion of a couple of original compositions on this disc, the duo once again prove that they are among the most underrated producers in Asian music. Badmarsh's solo jam "I Am That Type of Badmarsh" showcases the early makings of the Nasha breaks sound.

On to another unheralded star of the breakbeat scene: Niraj Chag. It's a pity it took so long for us to sit up and take note of his unbelievable diversity as a producer (see Outcaste New Breed UK) and his contribution here is on par with anything that Nitin Sawhney has ever released. Niraj is as at ease with fusing Bollywood-esque vocals with subtle electronics and strings as he is with creating straight up breakbeat soundscapes, something which Nitin has mastered. Speaking of the label's most famous alumni, "Hope" begins with tabla, flamenco guitar, Arabian lyrics and promises so much, yet never really delivers. Chill, yes. Sleep-inducing also. Not his best work but then again, his worst creations are better than 90% of the stuff that gets paraded around as World FusionTM these days.

On a largely quiet selection of tunes, I had trouble focusing on the work presented here. Some of the stuff is downright unlistenable (the aptly titled "Same Beat" and Ananda Shankar's cover of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash") and I would recommend exploring this affair only if you're in a seriously retro mood.

ethnotechno rating: 3 out of 5
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  1. Pressure Drop :: The Calling
  2. Ananda Shankar :: Jumpin' Jack Flash
  3. Cornershop :: Jullandar Shere
  4. Badmarsh & Shri :: The Asian Detectivepick
  5. Niraj Chag :: Kuchh Dil Ne Kahapick
  6. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan :: Mustt Mustt (Massive Attack Remix)
  7. Nitin Sawhney :: Hope
  8. Sonorous Star :: Indian Motorcycles
  9. Ravi Bill Harris & The Prophets :: Same Beat
  10. Trilok Gurtu :: Deep Tri
  11. Badmarsh & Shri :: Lamentpick
  12. Badmarsh :: I Am That Type Of Badmarsh (pick)