Suns of Arqa mastermind/bassist Michael Wadada has combined classical Indian raga rhythms with bass-heavy Jamaican reggae over the course of some two dozen albums since 1979, and his elegantly simple strategy has spawned a slew of less-imaginative imitators. Arqaology collects the Suns 'first two albums, Revenge of the Mozabites (co-produced by British dub star Adrian Sherwood), and Wadada Magic. In addition to the chattering tablas and chest-punching bass lines, they include forays into Asian-tinged disco ("Brujo Magic"), Celtic traditionalism ("Sully's Reel") and Andalucian flamenco ("Piece of the World"). Some of the 20 tracks on this 80-minute voyage (it's a bargain!) go by in a flash, while others, such as the 14-minute "Steppin 'to the Music," unfold slowly with stately cosmic-dancehall splendor. The other tour de force on Arqaology is "City of Nine Gates," featuring the late Prince Far-I, whose gravelly bass voice will make your speakers tremble respectfully.
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