Enduser: Bollywood Breaks
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Bollywood Breaks, Lynn Standafer's Enduser homage to the Bhangra music of the Hindi film industry, seductively merges the exotic mystery of India with the ominous thrash of breakcore. Two genres that might seem incongruous on paper turn out to be an ideal match, though much of the credit for that is attributable to Standafer's deft handling of the merger. In fact, it's not an entirely new release but a reissue of a sold-out 2004 12-inch, with Enduser's three originals joined by remixes from Mad EP (Matthew Peters), Line47 (Scott Weber), and Larvae (Matthew Jeanes) plus a newly-added video.

Standafer's Enduser material always impresses (see Run War and Calling the Vultures) and the three tracks here are no exception. On the marvelous opener “Not So Distant Drums,” the Cincinnati-based terrorist merges sinuous Bhangra melodies with blistering breaks. Thunderous drill'n'bass and crushing bass lines topple buildings in “No Wisdom” and “Not Here” with the delirious caterwaul almost smothering the songs' joyous vocal melodies; here and elsewhere, Standafer judiciously allows moments of relief, with tablas and sitars intermittently heard over the melee. In “Return of the Kourma Lover,” a male singer's melismatic vocal carves a slithering path through the stomping sprawl of Mad EP's funky remix. Larvae gives “More Distant Than You Think” an irresistibly funky makeover that departs from Enduser's original by adding more hip-hop to the breakcore mix (like the music itself, the video's an intercultural marriage that intercuts Bollywood film footage with bling-happy rappers and Crunk crews led by Lil Jon) while Line47's remix “Vishnu's Eastern Block” is strong too, with the driving pulse intensified and the alluring quality of the original vocal melody exploited.

Though historians speculate that it originated earlier, Bhangra was established formally 500 years ago when Punjabi wheat farmers danced and sang lively folk songs to help pass the time while working in the fields. Having grown dramatically in popularity over the centuries, Bhangra is now played at weddings, New Year parties, and other important occasions. Even so, one might presume with some degree of confidence that Bollywood Breaks signifies its premiere coupling with breakcore.

December 2005