Kaya Project – Elixir (Interchill)


There’s a distinct quandary that exists within a great majority of music termed ‘world-fusion’, and it seems Kaya Project’s most recent offering – the somewhat ambitiously titled Elixir – suffers directly from it. The problem, if you will, relates to the appropriation of culturally ‘exotic’ material into palatable – rather than meaningful or cross-cultural – music morsels for Western audiences. The baby of UK-based musicians Seb Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain, Elixir sees the pair merge Sub-Continental vocal, instrumental and percussive flavours with a foundation of funky, bass-led, electro grooves; but there’s nothing particularly interesting here. It almost seems as if adding an interesting ethnic or tribal modulation is enough; as if incorporating an ‘exotic’ lilt or colour gives you licence to not bother with an interesting composition or song structure. Speaking of which, the songs on Elixir appear outmoded and overly produced, losing anything raw or visceral their sources may have once possessed. In their well-intentioned quest to acquire a more global music vocabulary, Kaya Project have instead come up with Elixir – the stuff of travel package ads and the in-store, CD-on-loop for suburban, world handcraft uber-retailers; not the stuff of real musical or vernacular exploration.


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