Desi-esque: A Playlist For Your Pleasure

August 16, 2006
Soam Acharya

Arguably, the music of the subcontinent has been far more influential than its cinematic output. Courtesy technology from WebJay, this active playlist puts together a sampling of artists and tracks, both from diaspora artists and others, who have been influenced by its riddims. The focus is on electronica, jungle and trip-hop. So, just hit play in the embedded player and enjoy! Don't forget to make sure the latest version of Flash is installed.

We open with that chestnut from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Mustt Mustt", as remixed by Massive Attack. A must for all world-music best-of lists everywhere. "Nadia" by Nitin Sawhney is one of the best tracks from his album, Beyond Skin, a great blend of yearning vocals and drum and bass. The next couple of tracks are courtesy Feed Me Good Tunes' excellent Asian Underground sampler playlist, so mad props to them. Here's their take on the selections:

Ananda Shankar & State of Bengal's 'Betelnutters' is a great up-beat track set to a sweet sitar, it's hard to ignore the groove that these guys set.

Not enough can be said about Asian Dub Foundation, my buddy Rob introduced me to these guys and I've been loving them ever since. At times their political undertone can undermine the actual music [I do not intend to discount their message however]. 'Rebel Warrior' is one of their finer tracks - it gives you something to move to as well as a theme for airborne fist thrusting.

Death in Vegas, are not true members of the Asian Underground by any ethnic means, but their track 'I Spy' fits our mood today quite well, with the welcome addition of an organ to the sitar and an almost saddening beat.

Kid Koala & Dynamite D's 'Third World Lover' is a turntablists' gem, in fact the entire album [containing fused beats and well sewn samples from various Bollywood films] is a must-listen [so listen now!].

Topping it off with Talvin Singh's 'Traveller' wouldn't have been enough [because the album that it's on is quite easy to find] - so instead I opted for 'Kid Loco's Once Upon a Time in the Mid East mix' [taken from the elusive 'RemixSingh' album] which takes an already fantastic track and takes it to a different level

The next-to-last entry is the Mung Bean remix of Banco De Gaia's "Heliopolis." Toby Marks, who is Banco De Gaia for all intents and purposes, has been at the forefront of the electronica world beat movement and this track is a lovely reminder of his abilities. We conclude with a version of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have A Dream" speech cut up to tablas. We know of how MLK was influenced by Gandhi - this mix literally morphs that Indian connection. That's it - hope you enjoyed it!

Soam Acharya is a San Francisco Bay Area based multimedia producer and technologist. You can track his efforts for greater global understanding by the almighty power of the great dishum at Dishum Dishum.
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Desi-esque: A Playlist For Your Pleasure


Author: Soam Acharya


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