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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Joi

By Tad Hendrickson
Published January 14, 2008

Without Zero
Realworld

Joi released its last album, We Are Three, in 2001. Now, the numerically fixated Farook Shamsher returns with the best thing this project has come up with to date. Announcing its intention to kick ass in no uncertain terms, Without Zero opens with the impressive “Praying For You,” which has a stinging guitar figure, broad washes of synth, chattering beats, flute interludes and Chemical Brothers-esque big beat production dynamics. All that sets the bar pretty high, but Shamsher follows through with the eight cuts that follow. He deftly employs his cut-and-paste methodology, embracing traditional Indian music’s mix of tricky rhythms, ambient washes and siren-like vocals, but avoiding the pitfalls of predictability in this crowded sub-genre. Indeed, just as a groove settles in, the restless Shamsher is prone to letting the bottom drop out of it, either heading off in an unexpected new direction or using a pause to heighten the drama.