A 30-year stereotype cannot be broken over night, and the New Age image will be haunting South Asian artists for years to come. Many of the artists on this disc are in the vanguard of the effort (with notable omissions of Talvin Singh, Karsh Kale, and Midival Punditz) and are working hard against that stereotype. They, like this disc, are fighting to uneven results.
Asian Grooves is an amalgamation of South Asian cocktails containing classical, bhangra, and Bollywood along with R&B, and electronica. It succeeds more than it fails, but I’m not quite sure which outweighs which because a lot of it just lies flat (like the New Age scat snoozer, “Mamavath,” by Susheela Raman and Bally Jagpal’s R&B failure, “Pheli War”). A lot of it is simply OK (A.S. Kang’s “Terian Gulabi Buliyan” and the Baka Beyond-ish “Sabhyat,” by Karmix). There is also some really good stuff, though. Bally Sagoo contributes a nice little neo-soul-ish groove; the “Electric Lotus Trio” (DJ Baba G, Dan The Automator, and Badar Ali Khan) give the subcontinent some hip-hop flavor; and Nitin Sahwney (a name to seriously watch) continues to be impressive with the d&b “Awake” with Trinidad’s Mungal. As I’ve said, there are good and bad moments here. I seriously can’t decide which are the more prominent.