London-born producer, disc jockey and tablas virtuoso
Talvin Singh (founder of London's cross-cultural dance club "Anokha")
gives a different spin to "transglobal dance" by transplanting
ethnic styles (and their traditional instruments) to a field of electronic
beats and techno production techniques.
OK (Island, 1998) is a feast of exotic colors that yields
baroque postcards, whether the flavor is African or
(the sophisticated, languid jazz-hop of Mombasstic)
Japanese (the girlish choir of OK)
or Indian (the frenzied Eclipse, the frantic scat of Decca),
on top of his avantgarde compositions.
Here the latter is represented by
the 11-minute multi-part concerto Traveller, that begins in the
heavily contorted drum'n'bass style, with melismatic vocals in a dark
Nick Cave-ian tone, but then it turns to dreamy instrumental textures
(memories of flute-based Indian-inspired new-age music of the 1980s)
and ends with a romantic adagio played by a string orchestra.
The album's only drawback is that it sounded already outdated when it came out
(Butterfly is a pastiche of exotica stereotypes,
Light is chill music for the new-age crowd,
the marvelous vocal games of Soni are spoiled by a tedious
As far as dancing goes, the most propulsive moments are probably
the turbulent and dense Sutrix,
and the percussive whirlwind of Vikram the Vampire.
The joke sounds already stale, instead, on Ha (Island, 2000), a more openly commercial
effort that recycles the same ideas in a less experimental format and focusing
on Indian classical music.
Sway Of The Versus, the 12-minute exotic pastiche of One,
the ethereal Silver Flowers, the swirling Mustard Fields and
the pounding Dubla offer relax and entertatinment to the new age
Vira (Sona Rupa, 2002) is a duet between
Talvin Singh on tablas and Chaurasia Rakesh on flute.
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