World music has seeped so deeply into Western pop that we no longer hear it as an exotic, alien strain. That suits Talvin Singh, a blue-haired Briton alert to the ways in which the music of his Indian heritage has been watered down in the past by post-colonial tourísts. A year after he assembled Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground a vibrant sampler of tracks from the Anglo-Asian dance scene Singh drops a debut solo album that is full of what he calls "deep, mad symbioses." OK is another stop on the journey... Read More
that began in 1981 with David Byrne and Brian Eno's groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
, a floating world of busy beats, trance-y drones and migrant melodies.
The trouble is, the album winds up suggesting that most disowned of music terms, jazz fusion. Unlike the more song-oriented music of Cornershop or Asian Dub Foundation, OK's long pieces are too ambient, too close to the vaporousness of much New Age music. Driven by Singh's own tabla, the frenetic drum-and-bass beats anchor haunting flute lines and buzzing sitars but rarely push the music into surprising areas. "Traveller" tapers off into a sumptuous string passage, and the closing track, "Vikram the Vampire," roils into a massive attack of skittering break beats, but much of the album boils down to mere techno soup, diffuse future jazz that simply hangs in the air to no great purpose. OK is OK and no more. (RS 800)