Review of Asian Lounge Album by Putumayo Records

Putumayo - Asian Lounge

Putumayo Records Asian Lounge Album

Cross-cultural fusions and laidback beats Inspired by the musical traditions of Asia

East meets West in Putumayo's latest in the lounge series. As with the Turkish based Buddha Bar compilations, which have sold well, the exotic instruments, linear compositions and humid sound-scapes drift over the listener and conjure images of Asia, the planet's largest continent.

There are few better avenues for musical armchair explorations than Putumayo Lounge compilations and the eclectic yet well compiled collection of songs will get under your skin in the same way the previous Putumayo Lounge releases have.

Japanese stars, the Yoshida Brothers kick off the collection with "Fukaki Umi No Kanata" (Beyond the Deep Sea). The brothers have achieved fame in Japan by reviving the popularity of the tsugaru-shamisen; a 16th century instrument which they've mastered and incorporated into their signature sound."

A revival of another kind brings us Nitin Sawhney's "Koyal" (Songbird), a song he composed for the soundtrack of a recently restored silent Indian film. Sawhney is perhaps the best-known musician featured on Asian Lounge. As an artist of Indian heritage currently living in the UK, Sawhney's eclectic musical offerings incorporate everything from drum and bass to classical Indian music, making him a leading figure in Britain's Asian music scene.

From the rich heritage of Indian music, German artist Prem Joshua, presents "Funky Guru" blending Sufi chants, Sanskrit poetry and Indian folk with Western electronica. Joshua has become a star in India and frequently records with noted Indian musician Manish Vyas. Their successful collaborations include "Water Down the Ganges"; an 11-minute opus.

"Eastern Journey" is a track from legendary producer and multi-instrumentalist Biddu, whose extensive career includes co-writing credits on the 70s hit "Kung Fu Fighting". A recurring figure in both the Indian and UK music scenes, Biddu has continued to remain actively in tune with current trends.

Another familiar face on Asian Lounge is that of famed health and wellness guru Deepak Chopra. His "Oceans of Ecstasy" is an ambient dreamscape of sensual grooves, passion-soaked vocals, undulating chants and intoxicating rhythms. Other artists include Bali Lounge, Ancient Future, Nataraj XT, XCultures and Blue Asia, whose song "Campuhan" embodies the essence of Asian Lounge. Meaning "two rivers meet" in Balinese," Campuhan" merges ancient and modern worlds by mixing Indonesian gamelan with ambient effects and spoken word.

More artist information and a recipe for an Asian cocktail are included in the tri-lingual liner notes in English, Spanish and French. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to Oxfam America and Novib/Oxfam Netherlands in support of their development efforts in Asia.

1.Yoshida Brothers • Fukaki Umi No Kanata 5:14

2. Nitin Sawhney • Koyal 3:04

3. Ancient Future • Ja Nam 3:51

4. Deepak Chopra • Oceans of Ecstasy 4:32

5. Blue Asia feat.Yoichi Ikeda • Campuhan 3:36

6. Bali Lounge • Angels of the Island 2:42

7. Nataraj XT • Space In... 3:36

8. Prem Joshua • Funky Guru 5:42

9. Biddu Orchestra • Eastern Journey 3:26

10. Prem Joshua & Manish Vyas • Water Down the Ganges 11:34

11. Xcultures feat. Marisa Kosugi • Dreams of Happiness 3:32

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