The success of Panjabi MC's Knight-Rider-sampling "Mundian To Bach Ke" has prompted a big rennaiscance in the Asian Underground. Essential Asian Flavas
, compiled by hip label Outcast, is an apposite title for a compilation profiling a scene that is overground for the first time since Talvin Singh
and his trendy "Anokha night" were the talk of the town back in the 90s.
In fact, Outcast are in a good position to bring us the finest of that scene, since they have been consistently pushing Asian music of all stripes for years, regardless of it's acceptance by the mainstream. Their latest collection opens with "Mundian To Bach Ke" but instead of proceeding through a plethora of gimmicky Bhangra beats--which many other compilations will no doubt be doing very soon--it takes a more considered and variegated tour through today's Eastern-tinged beats. From mellow, introspective tunes such as Punjabi Hit Squad's "Hasdi Hasdi" and S Kaliwalia's "Kahendeh Neh Niana", tougher riddims from Jakatta ('So Lonely') and Bonobo's mix of Badmarsh & Shri's "Signs", through to the uptempo grooves of Trickbaby's "Neelaa" and Nitin Sawnhey's ethereal "Punjabi", this is a wide-ranging and respectable album. --Paul Sullivan
Various Artists - Essential Asian Flavas