New Music

Various Artists
Bombay 2: Electric Vindaloo
Motel Records

If electronic music weren't in the hands of people who desperately want to be pretentious '70s rock stars, I guess this album wouldn't do a whole hell of a lot for me. But campy funk jobs like this are good at deflating some of the helium from the great hype balloon that has made raving America's newest pastime. Electric Vindaloo is a nice mesh of lite Indian melodies, action-packed car-chase music, house beats and premier DJ cut-ups. Because it has absolutely nothing to do with garage, two-step, progressive house or any of the other chic styles currently being touted by overpriced, ad-heavy magazines, it's enjoyable for us plebeians, a weird record that grooves in its own orbit. Purportedly a DJ-stitched patchwork of background scores from Indian films made in the '80s (though it ain't too different from the first volume, which was culled from '70s flicks), Bombay 2 understands the novelty of its sources to the point that you wonder—especially if you don't know much about Indian cinema—if they are indeed sampled or just part of a clever scheme to be unique. (The liner notes do credit all source music to Kalyanji and Anandji.) Call it Spaghetti Eastern because tracks like Ursula 1000's "Ram Balram," Kid Koala and Dynomite D's "Third World Lover," and the so-called original uncut tracks (especially "Bollywood B-Boy Battle," "T.J. Hookah" and "Sexy Mother Fakir") will sweep you into their scenery, making you feel like you're being pursued by the police for scandalous deeds. Think of your favorite blaxploitation soundtracks with a touch of sitars and tablas, and then add a heaping scoop of electro-funk swerved and stuttered by talented turntablists. It ain't epic, grand or orgasmically layered; it's just a bit of fun. (Michael Coyle)



STEREOLAB
SOUND-DUST
ELEKTRA

Having released a full-length album or quality EP at least once every nine months over the past 10 years (while touring at a pace to match prime Grateful Dead), it's easy to forgive Stereolab for losing a bit of their edge. All the wonderful reasons to listen to these champions of avant-garde pop experimentalism are still present on Sound-Dust's 12 quiet songs: the twinkling, wispy melodies crafted by guitarist Tim Gane (tenderly marinated by the detached la-di-das and lyrics of Mary Hansen and Laetitia Sadier), the dreamy keyboard backdrops, Andy Ramsey's mind-bogglingly precise Neu! beat drumming, the head-spinning time changes and modal jams—they're all in there. But the opening segment, shared by the songs "Black Ants in Sound" and "Space Moth," will make your brain sway like a watch on a chain, a trick Stereolab have mastered with unparalleled grace. It just won't overwhelm you—something that used to happen from the sheer newness of their best work. The first single, "Captain Easychord," is the most majestic, sharpest cut on the disc, crashing suave trumpets into a slide guitar over a collage of tightly woven, dissident piano chords and countermelodies—classic Lab, unlike anyone else. While not inducing the pop escapism of their earlier work, Sound-Dust is still some great cool-out-relax-and-lower-the-blood-pressure music. (MC)

 
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