George V Records
By Srajan Ebaen
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Know anyone who each time you visit plays some fabulous tunes that totally trigger your aural nerve, but when you ask what they are very nonchalantly rattles of some unpronounceable names as though these exotica were mundane pop quiz
The Buddha-Bar is an actual Parisian restaurant with a huge Buddha statue overlooking two exotically decorated rooms where patrons are whisked away into what the liner notes dub a "neo-colonial Indo-Portuguese atmosphere". The eponymous CD series, now in its
4th dual-pack installment, reeks of the kind of worldliness that only cottons onto the second part of the
guilty pleasures destination and frequents such locales as Goa, Bali, Byron Bay/Australia, Costa Rica, Fiji and Ibiza - paradisiacal places where regulars exude the tangible ease of carefree fitness to practice endless variations on the theme of erotic seduction, not in any hurry to consummate the object of desire but on a perennial laissez-faire vacation that surfs, dives and
para-sails before it hits the hot spots for an all-night excess of dance, drink and public foreplay.
While I have not yet dined at the Buddha-Bar, if this double-CD music compilation is any indication, it's one seriously happening place. I would assume a decent sound system plays this type of fare regularly in the background.
Since it's Parisian and thus enjoys a strong Arabian immigrant population, you'll find choice tracks by Amr Diab and Ishtar cross fading seamlessly with Italian WordBeat sensation Agricantus and their German lead singer Rosie
Widerkehr. You'll detour through nouveau opera with its coloratura soprano backed by phat House beats via some Desert Dancer Slow Camel Ride remix, enjoy Greek vocalist Natassa Theodoridou skillfully navigating the razor's edge between Pop commercialism and deeper art, sample a bit of Bhangra electro
tabla, throw in some spiffed-up Salsa and top off the mélange with a track from the Tibet Project.
Sounds eclectic? Meet your tour guide David Visan, born of a Roumanian father and Vietnamese mother and the designer of the
Chill Out in Paris music compilation, a veteran globe trotter, musician, author and composer and one of those in-the-know music guys
who would hip you to some really cool shit were you to visit his digs. Buddha-Bar saves you from standing in line and delivers 28 tracks of expertly sequenced, Abbey Road Studios remastered tracks straight to your CD player. These compilations contain no duds and might introduce you to some artists you've never heard of before. They also create just the right kind of ambiance to pursue some guilty, slow-roaming pleasures of your own. And if you can forget about that old-fashioned guilt part, so much the better.
Chances are your local software stockist might hide Buddha-Bar IV and its predecessors behind locked glass. That was certainly the case at my local Santa Fe Borders. Asked why, the world music clerk laconically shrugged her shoulders and quipped, "they're expensive".
True, you pay just about what you'd pay for two regular CDs - but then these are two regular CDs, albeit packaged in a slim double-cover. What's more, they're maxing out the available space of 1s and 0s and are the equivalent of a tropical après-snorkeling haunt where a DJ morphs from one hit to the next with his fader controls and cherry-picks only the top crop from his already optimized secret cache of get-down tunes. Did you ever ask a DJ to play a request to suit the occasion and your paramour? Well, Buddha Bar IV is kinda like telling a DJ what you like and then asking
for a good 150 minutes worth of non-stop request. Highly recommended then for the Aral - Deep Forest - Tulku - Enigma crowd.