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World Music CD Reviews Electronica

MIDIval PunditZ

By Stacy Meyn
Published September 27, 2005

MIDIval Times
Six Degrees

For over a decade, New Delhi’s ex-architecture student Gaurav Raina and former IT guy Tapan Raj have been dabbling in various forms of modern raga and bhangra grooves, and as MIDIval PunditZ, garnered the honor of being the first Indian electronica outfit signed to an international label. Since their 2002 self-titled label debut (and pick hit “Bhangra Fever”), the pair has been busily remixing its projects (and for pals), Bollywood film scoring, contributing to Bill Laswell’s Tabla Beat Science collective, plus composing for a South Indian classical dance troupe. In case MIDIval PunditZ didn’t have enough activity, they got with some more friends to continue the word [and music] play on MIDIval Times, and the Asian [and otherwise] Massive won’t be disappointed. Master sarangi player/TBS member Sultan Khan guests on ghazal-flavored “Saathi” (Companion), and vocalist Vishal Vaid, with percussionist/producer/label-mate Karsh Kale, helps out on the elated “136.” “Rebirth" features Ravi Shankar’s daughter and sitar protégé, Anoushka Shankar. Sweet “Raanjhan” samples adored Pakistani chanteuse Abida Parveen. Remaining tracks range from lush to lascivious.