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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

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Various Artists
SALON ORIENTAL 3
Apricot

INDIANISM
Apricot

By DEREK BERES

Published June 5, 2006

Four-armed Hindu deities in half-lotus sit in quiet meditation, a candlelit auburn room exudes a speculatively blissful atmosphere. You’ve entered Western Marketing 101 par excellence circa 2003, where the continual exoticism of India dominates the public psyche. With these two releases, Apricot packages Buddha Bar-esque double sets hoping to capture the careless spiritualist. But unlike their George V counterparts, some solid downtempo and jazz-fueled cuts mingle with more mediocre dance tracks. Indianism leans heavily on sitars, drones and tablas, though tracks like Indiazz’s “Elephant Driver” sounds like Pharoah Sanders scoring a luscious Hindi film song. Much of it (“Third Stone Of The Sun,” for example) has to go, the pop sitar lines a nuisance. Salon Oriental 3 fares much better with more graceful infusion. Breaking out of the strictly South Asian box, exploring Arabic and Moroccan soundfare, the set makes a great introduction to global digitalism, but not much more. Night Session’s “Auroville Surprise” is clearly the winner, tweaking a Hindi yowl with a funk guitar and heady bass backdrop, the looming hip-hop beat solid.

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