When I wrote about the first volume of the Sitar Beat series of limited-run 12-inch EPs collecting dance-floor-ready tunes lifted from vintage Bollywood soundtracks and forward-looking fusion albums, a number of people who had long since dumped their turntables and purged their vinyl wanted to know if the music was available on disc.
No such luck, but three years and four volumes later comes the Sitar Beat CD (Guerrilla), a compilation of 21 tracks from the likes of film music greats R.D. Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji and Sapan-Jagmohan along with a few tasty oddities from Klaus Doldinger, Ananda Shankar and Biddu. And Serge Gainsbourg shows he was decades ahead of the crowd when he came up with Pyschastenie's broken beat structure with Michel Colombier for the 1968 Georges Lautner flick Le Pacha. No liner notes, crazy movie stills or session info, but Sitar Beat is guaranteed to rock your next party.
Folk times two
If it were left up to major labels, something like The Quiet Revolution CD, bridging the gap between the trippy pastoral music of old-school Brit-folk songsters from the hippie era with similar stuff put out by contemporary acoustic outsiders trying to avoid the freak-folk tag, could be years off.
Thankfully, the swell folks at Mojo magazine went ahead and compiled great tunes by Kevin Ayers, acid casualty Shelagh McDonald, Pentangle, Davy Graham and Vashti Bunyan (aka the "new Nick Drake") alongside the latest work by Akron/Family, Espers, James Yorkston, Woven Hand and Josephine Foster for a mystically magical raga-rific listening experience. Best of all, it comes free with the October issue of Mojo on stands now.
Those after lesser-known folk-psych oddities of the later 60s and early 70s should check out the stone-solid Feel The Spirit CD (Optimum). Believe it or not, this superb collection of bewitching gems from Hard Meat, Linda Perhacs, Spleen, Bonnie Dobson, Kathy Smith, Sunforest and others was assembled by ambient techno titan Mark Pritchard of Trouble Man notoriety. Apparently, before he hooked up with the Global Communication crowd, Pritchard was a fine West Country lad who grew up in cider-spitting distance of Polly Harvey in Yeovil. Suddenly, it all makes sense.
Remixing Four Tet
Look at who's responsible for the most interesting remixes of tracks by Radiohead, Bloc Party, His Name Is Alive, Beth Orton, Pole, Bonobo and Madvillain and you'll find that many of them were the handiwork of Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet.
The best of those are included on the first disc of the two-disc Four Tet Remixes (Domino) set. Perhaps even more intriguing are the remixes Hebden farmed out to his producer pals and people he respects, namely Jay Dee, Sa-Ra and Dundas destroyers Manitoba and Koushik, who steal the show. You've gotta love that.