“This is a real musical gem that's a exquisitely sounding and produced album !!!”

                                 -Pathaan [BBC/Globetronica/LiquidSound]



“..a delicate intelligent mix of styles/cultures.”

                                                                   -yogaglo.com



" Dr. Drez creates a mystical land where the cutting edge of hip-hop meets cool jazz and then gets drowned in a luscious helping of South-Asian dreaminess"

                              -Andrew T. Mackay (Bombay DubOrchestra)



                                                                                                                  

“ Drez offers plenty of musical vivacity to keep yogis attuned to the beat and their vinyasa flowing”

                                                            -Yoga Journal

Jahta Beat ; an exploration through Hip Hop

and down tempo with a focus on vibrations from India.

Dj Drez is an incredible, gifted and funky artist. I have enjoyed every moment of being under his musical guidance in the workshops he and I have played together in. Love love love his brilliance!

                                                                - Hemalayaa Behl         

                                                                                                


    


The booming, symphonic timpani drums that kickoff Jahta Beat: The Lotus Memoirs are properly announcing something grand.  DJ Drez’ fourth installment in the Jahta Beat series is big, bold and the beginning of something beautiful.  The album, released on Black Swan, could very well be the high water mark of the mantra music revolution to date and the clearest mission statement for East/West fusion of music and culture.

The timpani drums also represent the grand entrance of Ganesh, the chubby, elephant-headed deity of the Hindu pantheon, on the album’s first track. From the moment the beat drops on “Ganesh’s Theme,” a head nod is inescapable and a smirk is inevitable because the beat is simply bangin’.  Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and Dr. EZ appropriately invokes him for auspicious beginnings.  It’s also said that Ganesh stands guard at the doorway to cosmic consciousness, and right from the jump, he kicks the door open for us all as Drez adeptly leads us on a sonic journey through the lush soundscapes of downtempo hip hop beats, traditional Indian instrumentation,  ancient, sacred mantras, dub sensibilities, and a touch of jazz.

The brilliance of Lotus Memoirs, which logs in generously at nearly an hour and twenty minutes, is that it is infectious and groovy while also elevating consciousness through the incorporation of mantra on many tracks.  The blatant yogic (and even devotional) tint doesn’t compromise Drez’ musical pedigree but clearly shows his personal evolution as a seeker and sound pioneer while still honoring his roots.  Make no mistake; the album could get bona fide street credibility in the underground LA hip hop scene where Drez cut his teeth, while also pleasing his Rasta brethren and pure Krishna devotees alike.  Drez isn’t straddling worlds.  Jahta Beat is his world – and he seamlessly and intelligently incorporates all aspects of his mystical path and musical tastes - and we are privileged to listen in on it.  

Acknowledgment of the teacher or guru, the Enlightenment Principle, is an essential component on this path as well, and DJ Drez does so beautifully on “Guru Mantra.”  Perhaps it is inevitable that when a seeker or mystic gets into sound and vibration, they eventually find their way to mantra, and more particularly, the names of God.   Here, Marti Nikko adds the sweet and intoxicating vocals over an entrancing and melodic Drez beat, making this one of many standout cuts.

Nikko blesses Lotus Memoirs with her buttery smooth vocals on a handful of other noteworthy tracks.  “Om Hrim” is an apt outro offering salutations to Shiva, the original Jata, or ascetic and dreadlock.  In fact, the beautiful collision of the Rasta and Hindu worlds, Jah and Jata, gave birth to this Jahta series.  “Krishna’s Dub” may be the quintessential Jahta track, as the swirling flutes provided by Dominic Dean Breaux, mingling with the dirty off-beat keyboards, one drop drum beat, sitar, echo chambers and drone, mesmerize and lull the listener in.  Nikko’s distinctive voice seems to bubble up from the pulsating bliss of the track as she sings the various names of Krishna, “Govinda Bolo Hari Golpala Bolo / Radha Ramana Hari Gopala Bolo.” Jahta IV is also well balanced with some more etheric and deliciously moody and evocative numbers.  Titles like “Floating Sweetness,” “Nectar Drop” and “Yearning,” say it all as sitar and table, or even horn and piano, mix with traditional Indian vocal embellishments.   “For What It’s Worth India Dub” covers the Buffalo Springfield classic to a melodic, dreamy beat, while kirtan artist Joey Luggasy longingly chants for refuge in Ganesh in the background. 

In fact, all beats and traditions are in play on this slick album.  “Dreaming East” is true to its title, and the horns and psychedelic chirps, swirls and drum beats mixing with Sufi mantra could be from the Middle East or a jazz club in the East Village.  In some ways, DJ Drez is making music from behind the controls like Miles Davis was in the fusion period, but with dope beats and minus the organized chaos.  Drez also moves into the hard-hitting electronic beat world as he teams with fellow Dread, Arjun Baba, on “House of India.”  As Drez adds the downright contagious, deep groove, Baba works the harmonium into a frenzy in more of a Qawwali style as he improvises Indian solfege syllables over the top.   Meanwhile the Rasta vibe becomes more palpable on the upbeat and dubbed out “Dragon Mudra” and “Selecta Moves.”


Jahta Beat: The Lotus Memoirs is a cohesive and coherent whole – a quality that distinguishes a great album from most others on the market today.   DJ Drez has put together a stellar offering that is an amalgamation of downtempo, hip hop, dub, Indian instrumentation and mantra, and even jazz that can simply and only be called Jahta Beat.  From the dance hall to the yoga hall to the hall of fame, Drez has upped the ante as a true Stateside Sadhu, staying true to his roots while acknowledging and honoring where his mystic and musical path have taken him.


--by John Smrtic

www.bhaktigrooveyoga.com