With their debut CD Tala Matrix, the project known as Tabla Beat Science has essentially taken the rich and time-honored tradition of the tabla (a pair of North Indian hand drums) and fused it with contemporary electronica studio wizardry. Tala Matrix is dedicated to the memory of the late, great, and innovative tabla virtuoso Ustad Alla Rakha (1919-2000). The Tabla Beat Science project is comprised of one of Ustad Alla Rakha's sons, the tabla superman Zakir Hussain. Additional members include the venerated sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan; Indian and jazz percussion innovator Trilok Gurtu; New York drummer Karsh Kale; bass, drum, and tabla visionary Talvin Singh; and music programmer Brad Somatik. Producer/bassist Bill Laswell, who "conceived and constructed" the CD, acts as the catalyst for the outfit, adding the bottom end with his dub basslines and the overall aesthetic with his studio prowess. More of a consortium than a full-blown collaboration, not one of the songs on Tabla Matrix features all members of the group. Zakir Hussain's many tracks are among the best on the album, though Trilok Gurtu's funky Big Brother and Talvin Singh's Don't Worry.Com are both extremely compelling. The often zombie-ridden doldrums of electronica should benefit immensely from this experimental union with tabla. An excellent CD that deserves to be heard many times by many people, Tala Matrix manages to be innovative without loosing sight of tradition.