Thursday, March 28, 2002

Cross-cultural musical points of view on eBay

DJ SHADOW * AUTOMATOR Bombay The Hard Way CD (note: link will become stale once the auction is over): ! Bombay the Hard Way plays like the soundtrack to some imaginary 1970s B-films with names like Shaft's Bad-Ass Pilgrimage To India or Ganges Ghetto Payback. Featuring the music of Indian composers (and brothers) Anandji and Kalyanji Shah, who wrote and produced soundtracks for the so-called "Brownsploitation" films made in India's "Bollywood" during the 60s and 70s, this saffron-funk project is the brain-child of Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, Bay Area producer / remixer of Dr. Octagon fame, with additional beats provided by the immensely talented DJ Shadow. The end product is a potent cross-pollination of Secret-Agent-Man guitar themes, Blaxploitation grooves, jazzy horn and flute riffs, hip-hop beats and loops, and traditional Indian instrumentation. While this East meets West mixture is incredibly funky, there are few innovations or surprises within. Beyond the sweeping and intense orchestrations of the opening track, "Bombay 405 Miles," the album tends to value mood and groove over tunes. That said, there are still some particularly strong standouts. "The Good, The Bad, And The Chutney" and "Inspector Jay From Dehli" are mysterious Spy-thriller grooves, loaded with sitars, spacey synths, orchestral breaks, and DJ Shadow's laid back beats. Like much of the album, these two songs are heavily spiced Indian approximations of the cinematic funk found on Blaxploitation soundtracks by Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, and Willie Hutch. "Professor Pyarelal" is a deliciously slow Barry White-styled groove that blends funky flute, bass, and drums with atmospheric synthesizer and jazz piano. The album's only song with lyrics, "Ganges A Go-Go," features a sound straight out of the Indian quarter of London's "swinging 60s" scene. Over a driving Go-Go beat and Eastern-flavored horn arrangements, a handful of male and female singers (with cute Indian accents) belt out the lines, "I got no time to think / Cuz' I need somebody to love / Yeah! / Baby, I love you so / But you can't love me more / Why don't you hold me closer / And I'll give you more / Yeah!" With lyrics like that, this song is destined to wind up on one of my more kitchy mixes. Throughout the album, there are fun snatches of dialogue lifted straight out of vintage "brownsploitation" films. These digressions add to the overall enjoyment, helping to make Bombay the Hard Way a classic party record for the new millennium.

KID KOALA * AUTOMATOR * Bombay Pt 2 * CD MINT (note: link will become stale once the auction is over): Title: Bombay the Hard Way, Vol. 2: Electric Vindaloo Label : Motel/ Cover/CD: Still Sealed/Mint. This is the long-awaited second installment in the Bombay the Hard Way series, the ongoing anthology of Bollywood film works by the great Indian directors and composers Kalyanji, Anandji, and V. Shah. It is reasonable to be skeptical after the sheer genius of the first volume, expecting that this might be second-rate or bottom of the barrel material designed to flog a dead horse. Nothing could be further from the truth. This collection focuses on the movies scored by the V. Shah brothers in the 1980s, when plenty of images from the gun-running, drug-smuggling, kung fu, pimp-fighting movies of the previous two decades were still used, but Bollywood had turned increasingly to crime-type syndicate films. (Why not? The mob was fronting the money for most of these movies anyway.) What had changed in Bollywood during that time was the use of technology: drum machines, sequencers, and phase shifters entered the fray with sitars, tablas, rock, funk, disco, and traditional melodies from Rajastan. DJs and mix masters were brought in to doctor these tracks a bit more because, in the 1980s, the place of incidental music had changed in Indian cinema, particularly in the masala ("mixed spice") films: Sequences were often written for the exact amount of time a sequence was on the screen, often only 20 or 30 seconds of music. The producers Adrian Milan and Christina Bates brought in the talents of Mixmaster Mike, Kid Koala & Dynomite D, Ursula 100, and many others to cut, paste, and mix tracks into coherent statements of the genius of the Shah brothers. They succeeded in spades, remaining true to the spirit of the source music, and enhancing it rather than covering it over � which is so much the wont of DJs and mixologists today. This collection retains the same punch and swagger of the original and keeps the groove rolling and the smiles coming. This is a hell of a follow-up; listeners can only hope that more is found to ship their way soon. (AMG) The setlist is: 1. Ram Balram performed by Ursula 1000 2. Bionic Hahaan performed by DJ Me / DJ You 3. Theme From Twin Sheiks (Anandji/Kalyanji) 4. Third World Lover performed by Kid Koala / Dynomite D.. Rah-Keet (Anandji/Kalyanji. Hydrolik Carpet Ride performed by Mix Master Mike 7. Bollywood B-Boy Battle (Anandji/Kalyanji8. Mr. Natwarlal performed by DJ Me / DJ You 9. Basmati Beatdown performed by Dynomite D 10. T.J. Hookah (Anandji/Kalyanji) 11. Superstar Sam (Anandji/Kalyanji) 12. Disco Raj performed by DJ Me / DJ You13. Sexy Mother Fakir (Anandji/Kalyanji14. Inspector Jay's Big Score performed by Spic-Beat-2 / Pak-Man - 15. Electric Uindaloo performed by Steinski 16. Dil Street Blues (Anandji/Kalyanji) 17. Chakra Khan (Anandji/Kalyanji).

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.