Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Mystic Groove

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2001 at 12:00 AM

If Mystic Groove gets into you, you’re gone. Just gone. No choice but to go on ahead and float. My advice? Let it. Trust this record to do its job. It’s up to the task at hand: Transport you to that interior sound world beyond the cliché of such word pairings as “Mystic” and “Groove” and interrupt the daily collisions of life, appointments and unwelcome telephone visitations.

Of course, dance music has a history of bandying about quasi-mystical and quasi-philosophical terminology like there’s not much real meaning behind the words. Rather, these unfortunate descriptors function as dry-hump verbal runs at quantifying the transcendent experience of the music. Here, again, these words are bandied about and here, again, they fail.

Here are some that will help you frame your processing of this record, though: Quango Records’ raison d’être and the tagline (convenient!) are both “Music for a Global Culture.” In that sprit, Mystic Groove is a collection of trans-Asian sounds, focusing on musics from India, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula and other stops along the way. It mingles the traditional with the electronic, the old Silk Road world with the Western one and youthful vigor with respectful traditions. It’s often a compelling concoction.

Najma’s “Ghoom Charakhana” benefits from Talvin Singh’s echo-trippy mixology. Black Star Liner’s eerie, nervous “Harmon Session Special,” keeps the proceedings from sliding toward the middle of the road as does MC Sultan’s Burundi-beat cut “Der Bauch.” The tracks were recorded over the last five years, but compilation producer Bruno Guez has picked his tracks wisely, delivering a timeless mix. Oh, and there’s also well-designed CD-ROM content.

One can see Mystic Groove headed for heavy rotation as both aural wallpaper for newly minted hiperatis at dinner parties or as dance floor and chill-out music for legit, worldly electro-dance heads and hold its own and then some in either context. And spanning that gap is an effort that’s lost many a compilation to the abyss.

E-mail Chris Handyside at letters@metrotimes.com.

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