Stop the Earth

9 03 2007

By Derek Beres

Stop the Earth, I Want to Get Off! (Wonderwheel)

While the music of India has made a slow and steady climb into American consciousness over the last four decades, little is known of Baul culture, a group of Bengal mystics that use their songs as transmissions spreading social and spiritual philosophies. Outside of two collaborative efforts between the excellent vocalist Paban Das Baul – with British guitarist Sam Mills (Real Sugar) and UK-based DJ/producer Sam Zaman/Stage of Bengal (Tani Tani) – few Baul scribes have made their way to Western ears. And then Zeb came along and dropped the hottest track imaginable.

Known under many guises – such as The Spy From Cairo, The Pleb and, more rarely, Moreno Visini (his birthright) – Zeb has been dropping guitar and oud lines at New York’s best dance parties (including, most recently, his residency at Turntables on the Hudson) for years. Yet his deeper layer of genius occurs in the studio, where he applies a globally focused intent across the board. Often citing his gypsy heritage to the manner in which he makes music, one can immediately recognize the connection. Just as the original Rom culture traveled from India through to Persia and Spain, and up the Balkans into Eastern Europe, Zeb offers incredible insight into these seemingly disparate threads, most notably on this latest release. Like a master weaver, his tapestry is a brilliant display of colors that evolve over time; as the carpet becomes worn and earthen, new textures that were not apparent appear. This is the foundation of his music.

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