Dave Anand – Peace, Love and Chocolate (Taruja)

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It’s not every day a busker is discovered on the street by a record label willing to release his or her work. But then, Auckland’s Taruja Records is not your average label, specialising in homegrown artists that would otherwise be lost to the fringes. And Dave Anand is not your average busker. The Fiji-born, New Zealand-based artist loops tabla and vocal samples amid rudimentary ambience for psychedelic passages that nod to his time learning traditional Indian music.

This debut album exudes the intimacy of a bedroom recording and yet can also muster a cosmic vastness. Anand pursues that combination over a dozen tracks, and if the approach varies little from song to song, it’s an effective one. With its kooky synth plunks and twanging loops, “Pune Dawn” is incidentally lovely. Vocal samples are warped, stuttered, or submerged, increasing the droning effect of the Indian and other Eastern music of Anand’s inspiration. His homespun work can evoke a trance (“Zen Apothecary”), a warm incandescence (“Toy Charm”), a palpable emotional response (“Screentime Lovers”), or all of those at once.

Anand isn’t likely to be a crossover success, but he could easily find cult adoration. His specific style of layering feels fresh, and his positivity resonates through every composition.

Doug Wallen

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