GOVINDA: Entwined & Entranced


This amazingly original, exotic-minded multi-instrumentalist uses the violin, guitar, sarod, and drums to stir up an amazing brew of modern, hip-hoppy funk sounds with, as Aerosmith put it, the “sweet taste of India.” Each track seems to get more textured than the next, but the prototype for most of these tunes is the opener, “Quintessence of Dust,” which lays a thick funk foundation and hypnotic blues keyboard vibe before Govinda chimes in with his flashy flamenco guitar stylings, coupled with a soaring violin and the wordless vocals of a distant choir. “Compassion” is intriguing in that the groove comes not from a real bass but from a synth bass, which speeds up slightly as a thick urban groove track kicks in and Govinda seduces with a flamenco sweetness. At times, the thick modern percussion tracks get a little heavy and take away from the enjoyment of the more exotic elements, particularly on “Floating on These Tears,” which combines a creeping violin melody with an overbearing industrial hip-hop vibe. But you can’t blame Govinda for experimenting a little too much when so many of his concoctions form such a perfect cultural bridge. — Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

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