splendid > reviews > 3/6/2002

Various Artists
Lotus Groove
Music Mosaic

Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Lost At Last's "Sufi Groove"

Once, while climbing the Cliffs of Moher, I passed a couple kitted out in knitted Tibetan hats and curled-toe Persian slippers. The woman was wearing several kirtles and playing a bodran to accompany her partner's didgeridoo. Framed against the backdrop of the cliffs, the Atlantic Ocean and O'Brien's Tower, with the winds whipping their mish-mash of multi-coloured clothes like out-of-control kites, the couple made a strange visual and musical statement about the borrowing and intermingling of cultures. Lotus Groove, and its label Music Mosaic, leaves a similar mental impression with its music.

Musical Mosaic's mission is to produce mix CDs of varying world and new age music, set to an electronic beat. Lotus Groove's beat is mid-tempo, and doesn't get much faster or much slower than that throughout the disc. The flavor of this mix is Indian, complete with traditional singing styles (I don't even know what to name them -- it sounds like a mellowed-out version of a Bollywood romance soundtrack), tablas, doumbeks, dulcimers, zills, koras -- the full buffet of musical sounds available to an Indian orchestra. It's mostly too slow to dance to, although I could see a DJ throwing it on during a break at a bhangra night; the entire disc has a trancey feel to it, and it'd be far more useful as dinner music when you're cooking Indian, or for workout music for yoga, or background music for tantric sex -- slow activities. Mystic Rhythms Band's "Eden" is slightly faster because of the horn sound, which revolves in continuous dervish-tightening circles. "Jaipur" is unique because of the traditional female vocals in the background, whereas most of the tracks are purely instrumental. Lindsay Pollak's "Pongi Thongi" seems odd to me, because one of the main sounds seems to be a contraction of uillean pipes and digeridoo, accompanied by zills (those belly-dancing finger cymbals). How uillean pipes came into the mix is a mystery one can ponder while the music plays, which can be an enjoyable exercise.

Lotus Grooves may prove the inspiration for you to take a belly-dancing class, or buy airline tickets to the next rave at Goa. At the very least, by album's end your third eye should be blinking. -- Jenn Sikes

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