CD/EP, Kush Arora Productions, 2010
Kush Arora’s latest, the brief Voodoo Sessions EP, is four tracks of future dub flavor. The San Francisco resident’s signature dubstep style – blending facets of dancehall and bhang ragga – is evident, a rewarding infusion of melodic hooks and contagious bass lines with roots tempered in traditional musical forms from the Indian subcontinent. In two original tracks and two remixes, one a re-version of a Maga Bo & K-Libre track (“Nakhil”) and the other a club edit of Arora’s own “Humidifier”, we get tantalizing hints of the exotic mixed with grittier global bass sound.
Tropical “Humidifier” is hands-down the best number here. It starts out soft and slow, with melodic elements dropping into an ambient intro, then builds into a bubbling rhythm that bounces and skips through to the end. Oddly cheerful but maintaining a mysterious air, its associations are close to what can be found on “Boiling Over” (2009), Arora’s recent full-length, both excellent and ruminative. “Empty Alleys”, by contrast, stands solidly in the dubstep realm with wobbly bass and expletive-happy samples. Following that, we get a low profile groove in the Kush Arora & Bakir remix of “Nakhil”, where ragga vocals play counterpoint to a rather simplistic instrumental backing. Finally, “Humidifier (Jammer Club Edit)” wraps things up about where they started, though this time with a more direct and floor-oriented take on that alluring exoticism.
In this case, it seems too brief and perhaps even too ‘trancey’ and clinical compared with the original’s more organic vibe. In summation, the “Voodoo Sessions EP” is satisfactory dance floor fodder but only “Humidifier” and its steamy equatorial leanings will truly transport you elsewhere.
— Dutton Hauhart