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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

ASIAN LOUNGE

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 27, 2006

Putumayo

In this compilation intended to captivate a new audience, sounds from Japan, India and other nations blend with various European and U.S. influences, showcasing how far musicians from the East have come these days. In “Fukai Umi No Kanata,” the Yoshida Brothers mix West Coast cool jazz tendencies with the koto, a traditional instrument with amazing results. Prem Joshua makes two appearances with his relaxing sitar and soothing vocals played with an electronic background that doesn’t lose touch with its original roots. Deepak Chopra contributes “Ocean Of Ecstasy,” which has a more contemporary feel than the other tracks in the album. Biddu Orchestra’s “Eastern Journey” is definitely meant for the dance floor, but Bali Lounge’s “Angels Of The Island” only wants you to relax and enjoy the ride. Pay close attention to Blue Asia’s “Campuhan,” which features a cleverly played electric bass, which serves as background for an innovative use of the sitar.