bombay-dub-orchestra As their name suggests, this spacious electronica is exotic, swathed in strings - and keeps a bit of dub for good measure.


Label: Six Degrees Records
Time: 10 Tracks / 59 minutes

Maybe it's something to do with the colours in the titles, but I can only hear warm and exotically rich sounds in this release, largely inspired by Istanbul. The first three tracks are called "The Orange Terrace" (gorgeously twangy), "Blue Mosaic" (which drifts sinuously around the zithery strings of the qanon) and "City of Amber." How can they not be sensuous and evocative of a balmy Eastern evening?

Some names are disingenuous, though. If the album title and "Bohemia Junction" conjure up images of bustling, cosmopolitan markets, where people are thrown into cramped spaces with traders calling and jostling for attention, then these are deceptive.

The great prog band Camel named one album Rajaz after the steady, gentle pace of camels crossing the desert, and this disc shares those rhythms, taking me to burning sand, indigo skies and unhurried oriental wandering.

There are times when the sound thickens, but rarely does the pace quicken. Sometimes an acoustic string will stand out, such as on "The Orange Terrace," where the lead comes from a sarod (a wide, fretless lute). Elsewhere, a floating vocal might draw the ear and occasionally piano or orchestral strings will change the tone, but the mood remains calm and inviting. While the orchestration feels familiar, the bass eschews the unmissable thickness sometimes found in the BDO's more dance-oriented tracks, such as "Strange Constellations" from 3 Cities, leaving it lighter. "A Place of Beauty" is minimalism on the level of Jeff Johnson at his quietest.

"Songs from the Seven Towers" is the only track that might be considered a song, with short sections of vocals, but it takes that melody and plays with it as if it were jazz.

"Bohemia Junction" is otherwise the most characterful piece in the collection. After a lengthy ambient intro, an Asian dub foundation hosts an oud-led melody, interspersed with strings and pulses of keyboards.

But forget these tracks as individual pieces. This tapestry of electronica works best as a whole. It takes that long for the calming effect to truly kick in and by that time you may well be in the mood to play it all over again. Recommended.


Derek Walker

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