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A New Day Laya Project Remixed

Various Artists

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Album Review

"Laya" is a Sanskrit word that implies connection or fusion, and the Laya Project exemplified that concept by taking field recordings of singers and instrumentalists from some of the regions hardest-hit by the 2004 tsunami (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Maldives, India) and embellishing them with overdubbed rhythm and harmony parts played by other regional musicians and the producers themselves; in many cases, the results were trance-inducing electronica of the sort found in the hipper nightclubs, while others were moody slices of exotic ambience. That two-disc album now has a companion volume in this two-disc collection of remixes, created by such luminaries of electronic exotica as Pitch Black, Karsh Kale, MIDIval PunditZ, DJ Cheb I Sabbah, and Bombay Dub Orchestra. Disc one, titled "Embrace," tends toward the polite: Pitch Black's mix of "A New Day" is another slice of that duo's typically understated dubwise brilliance, while the Desert Dwellers remix of "Sunset in Akkarai" is gentle funk with a tabla accompaniment and the EarthRise Soundsystem's mix of "Nium Nium" lays out a pleasant rockers reggae beat. Things get a little bit more challenging on the second disc, with "Union," which features a lurching soca mix of "Tapatam" by Dub Gabriel, a dark and edgy take on "Ya Allah" by Celt Islam and DJ Umbi, and two mixes by DJ Cheb I Sabbah: a sturdy house mix of "Touare" and a bouncy electro-funk setting of "Ya Allah." Best of all, though, is the pulsingly gorgeous remix of "Hai La Sa" by Nickodemus. As with the original album, though, one looks in vain for an indication of how this recording is going to help those whose voices and instruments made it possible: while it seems likely that proceeds from sales of the discs (and the award-winning companion film) are going to support relief efforts, nothing in the promo packaging or press release says so.

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