Music Review: Cool Chill, Warm Heart

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There’s something about pairing traditional music from around the globe with crisp electronic beats, textural synths, and deep, resounding bass that can be incredibly appealing–or incredibly boring. At its best, this school of “global chill” DJ remixery can honor the source music while adding a vibrant modern sonic depth; at its worst, it can give you the sense that you’re lost in a new age gift shop or having a bad trip on Ibiza.

The two-disc compilation A New Day skews strongly toward the high-quality end of this spectrum. Its source material is music recorded for The Laya Project two years ago by artists from the countries ravaged by the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami–Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, and India. In the hands of global DJs like Karsh Kale, Cheb I Sabbah, and MC Yogi, these tunes become a feast for the ears.

The music has a big heart and a big sweep, drawing from a deep spiritual well and infused with an alluring Eastern melodicism. While a few of the remixes could drive a dance floor, most are more suited to the yoga studio; the lyrics of “Glorious Sun” even specifically cite sun salutations. Whether you use it as a soundtrack for motion or meditation or both, A New Day is a great way to keep things chill.

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