To most people, world beat music conjures the sounds of ethereal synthesizers mixed with tabla beats and finger cymbals. But few know the modern world beat of Macha, a trio from Athens, Georgia, that fuses alternative rock with Indonesian folk as seamlessly as Talking Heads merged post-punk with African music in the early '80s.
A mesh of influences as diverse as Asian island music mixed with Stereolab and Tortoise may seem far-fetched. However, the proof is in Forget Tomorrow. The group's third album opens with a barrage of zithers and vibraphones -- a sound that made its first two albums so compelling. The album also reveals a more mature, relaxed Macha, unafraid to add grooves to the mix. As much as the opening title track bangs along like a manic Indonesian street band, it also rides a funky rhythm guitar lick and slithery bass line. Macha eases up for moments of tranquility like "Calming Passengers," a piece that drones and builds on lush atmospheric guitars. Forget Tomorrow delivers a spicy kick to the numbing predictability of indie rock. -- Hans Morgenstern
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