Joi's 'One and One Is One'

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Masala describes the m?lange of spices that flavors Indian cooking, but it also sums up the allure of Joi's Asian dance-floor fusion. Theirs is the sound of the Empire striking back as the English kids of Asian immigrants grab the controls of contemporary electronica and blend sitars with snarling guitars, and dholak drums with breakbeats. The results don't get much better than Asian Vibes, with its irresistible chorus, as Susheela Raman's voice soars over propulsive grooves that owe as much to the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (whom Joi remixed on the Star Rise compilation) as to the electronic dance culture with whom Joi's members grew up. Occasionally, when the machines threaten to take control, one could be fooled into thinking that the tracks originated in Detroit or Frankfurt. Then a slinky melodic filigree emerges, drawing a straight line between premillennial recording studio and ancient ragas. The sound of Joi, as one of their titles would have it, truly deserves the accolade massive.FromEscape(December 1999). Subscriptions: $18/yr. (4 issues) from Box 462255, Escondido, CA 92046.