On RARE ELEMENTS, a crew of celebrated re-mixers tackles one of the biggest names in Indian classical music with smooth, danceable results. Ustad Sultan Khan is a world-renowned sarangi master and vocalist who descends from India's famed Khan family of musicians. His unique voice and sarangi playing have made him a sought-after collaborator. He has performed alongside Ravi Shankar and contributed to tracks by Madonna, Duran Duran, and other popular western musicians. The sarangi is a string instrument, held upright and played with a bow. Its ability to imitate the human voice has made it a popular instrument for singing performers. The sarangi is used to great effect in many of the tracks on RARE ELEMENTS, such as Joe Claussell's "Sayaji." Claussell uses a repeated sample of sarangi to punctuate Sultan Khan's vocals, which alters the usual drone of the instrument and gives it a new, modern context. Thievery Corporation delivers the most mellow track, "Tarana," a deep, beat-driven number that Sultan Khan's vocals float over, while ambient melodies punctuate the sparse arrangement. RARE ELEMENTS gives a diverse mix of music, from moody down-tempo to hard dance beats. Most importantly, the album is expertly sequenced so the music flows without any jarring transitions.
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