Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook ‘Remixed Star Rise’ (Real World) 4/5

As part of the ongoing re-issue programme by Real World, one of the albums that reached a wider audience beyond the confines of the in the know roots audience during the 1990s has been re-released and still sounds as fresh as the day it was put together by a collection of DJs from an altogether younger generation. In fact the idea of mixing dance-floor beats with the sacred sound of qawwali might at the time have seemed anathema, but actually turned a whole new a by a collection of younger audience on to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and consequently he was fêted by that younger generation in a way that would never have happened if that same age group had been exposed to the untouched rootsier sounds alone. Re-listening to the music some fifteen years later, the most convivial fusion remains that of Talvin Singh who as both a musician and DJ has a natural empathy with the original music and has not tampered too much with it which is to his eternal credit. This is illustrated by the subtler use of mixing on ‘My heart, my life’ which creates an atmospheric groove with a gradual building up of layers. The distinctive voice of Khan emerges slowly, but surely from the mix. Elsewhere Nitin Sawhney mixes up ‘Tracery’ to good effect with a spoken intro and a gentle introduction to layered textures and once again is respectful of the tradition. If it is a more radical reworking you are looking for, then look no further than the major drum accompaniment on ‘Nothing without you’ from the Dhol Foundation and Fun ‘da’ mental. For those in search of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s most famous work ‘Mustt Mustt’ which Massive Attack famously remixed, it is not contained on this selection, but is available elsewhere in the re-issues programme. Tim Stenhouse

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