VAR­I­OUS ARTISTS A New Day Laya Project Remixed

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

(White Swan) In the af­ter­math of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, one of the largest global hu­man­i­tar­i­anaid ef­forts took place in the re­gion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Chen­nai-based “world-mu­sic” pro­duc­tion com­pany Earth­sync trav­eled through­out In­dia, Sri Lanka, In­done­sia, Myan­mar, Mal­dives, and Thai­land with sound equip­ment and a film crew to doc­u­ment the dev­as­ta­tion and record the folk-mu­sic tra­di­tions of com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by the dis­as­ter. The re­sult was Laya Project, a stir­ring doc­u­men­tary film and com­pan­ion mu­sic com­pi­la­tion cre­ated as a “trib­ute to the re­silience of the peo­ple of South Asia.” It also served as a small but price­less nugget of eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy that, while hardly aca­demic, lent po­etic truth to the no­tion that a pic­ture (and even a song) can be worth a thou­sand words. With this fol­low-up com­pi­la­tion of 22 remixes that hit store shelves and down­load sites on Aug. 17, the la­bel di­vides tracks onto two discs, one ti­tled Em­brace, the other Union. Em­brace is a mel­low of­fer­ing with an em­pha­sis on sub­tle rhyth­mic and vo­cal en­hance­ments. Union, how­ever, is a dance-floor lover’s dream, serv­ing up plenty of driv­ing techno and hip-hop beats and con­tem­po­rary synth and se­quenc­ing em­bel­lish­ments poured over mu­si­cal styles rang­ing from Pun­jabi bhangra and Sufi to Burmese harp com­po­si­tion and Sri Lankan Bud­dhist chant. The orig­i­nal CDs lost much of their con­text for peo­ple who had not seen the film first, while the remixes stand on their own as an un­usual col­lec­tion of tracks that could be con­sid­ered ei­ther a night­club-ready sam­pler or a cul­tural mash up that con­tin­ues to pay trib­ute to the un­sink­able per­se­ver­ance of the peo­ple of South Asia. — Rob DeWalt

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