TJ Rehmi,
The Warm Chill
(Dharma Moon, 2004)

Whilst this album might not be the most demanding hour of music I've heard, it's also extremely chilled and relaxing -- the perfect de-stress tool. I love it! Behind the fusion of breakbeats, ultra slowed-down grooves, mellow drum & bass and electronica is some thoughtful composition and well-crafted guitar/sitar playing. The album abounds with Eastern nuance and occasional ambient vocal samples. The album as a whole has a very relaxed, effortless feel.

Rehmi is from Birmingham in central England, and is classically/jazz trained. He's worked with reggae/jazz and bhangra bands, and he learned much from jazz fusionists and classical music tutors at college a decade ago. The compositions on this album result in an hour of blissed-out soundscapes -- it's a great example of contemporary Brit-Asian chill.

The laidback vibe hits you immediately with "You Are Me Am I" (there are two mixes, Red and Blue!) -- here, as in many other of the album's tunes, the hypnotic, repetitive groove and guitar detail get straight to work on your mood. Title track "The Warm Chill" is an alluring tune where the guitar is enveloped by some fine tablas playing and it's all very stripped back. The tablas are great too on "Asmaaniac." The leisurely drum & bass of "Axis of Ignorance" continues the theme, while "Perfumed" seems to exude all those heady, exotic fragrances of Asia.

There's a great jazz vibe to "For the Unknown" and "Xcentric" (nice guitar picks alongside great bass and flutes). The same goes for the excellent "The Escape," where swooping/soaring whistles weave around Rehmi's nicely structured playing. I would have loved to have more detail regarding instrumentation, but it wasn't available at the time of writing this.

This is a satisfying, ambient and intricate fusion of Eastern chill with contemporary grooves. Chill factor 100+!

- Rambles
written by Debbie Koritsas
published 5 June 2004

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