Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker & Business Class Refugees: No Stranger Here (EarthSync)

Fitting for a Valentine’s Day release, the global/electronic/groove duo Business Class Refugees (consisting of producer Patrick Sebag and sound designer Yotam Agam) has teamed up with renowned Hindustani singer Shubha Mudgal and spoken-word poet Ursula Rucker to create a world-fusion album inspired by Indian saint Kabir’s ruminations about God and love.

Though incredibly diverse, the album manages to find a balance between Eastern vocal intonations and Westernized beats and strings. It blends heavy doses of modern electronica with orchestral music and even faint hints of jazz, all while seamlessly incorporating Mudgal’s classical Indian vocals and Rucker’s moody, staggered delivery.

Just as Kabir’s philosophy tended to jump across boundaries of religion and culture, No Stranger Here explores such universal themes as love and peace, alienation and spiritual emptiness. It’s an album that resonates with listeners not only through impressive musicianship and collaboration but through its timeless message.

- Meaghann Korbel

http://alarm-magazine.com/best_albums/this-weeks-best-albums-february-14-2012/