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Dancing Drums

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Album Review

With jungle not so much fading away as spreading itself into a worldwide phenomenon, the next big British thing appears to be the Asian underground movement, a fusion of Indian instrumental sonorities and Western breakbeat culture. Badmarsh, a DJ who has recorded on his own for the Liquid Sky label, and Shri, a tabla and bass player, here explore a more gentle side of what is often a harsh and frenetic dancehall style. As a solo artist, Badmarsh generally employs the hyperactive breakbeats and ominous atmospherics of jungle, but here he sticks primarily with more moderate tempos while Shri spins out gorgeous melodic basslines and virtuosic tabla rhythms. The Laswellesque bass part on "Gharana" is especially effective, and Shri pulls out a bowed bass to nice effect on the gently propulsive "Lament." Singer Tina Grace chimes in on "The Air I Breathe," but the rest of the album is instrumental. Several tracks go on a couple of minutes too long, and techno snobs will find its pleasantness objectionable. Overall, though, this album is a success.


Formed: Yemen

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

b. Mohammed Aktar Ali, Yemen. This DJ and producer grew up in east London, England, and consequently absorbed a range of musical styles from various cultures as a child (his name is Urdu for scoundrel or black sheep). While he was working for a reggae label that hired sound systems and PAs to clubs, he came into contact with dance music and began to DJ. With his brother, he ran a pirate radio station in Walthamstow called Ali FM and later played house at Labyrinth. It was a natural progression to...
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Dancing Drums, Badmarsh
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