If you’ve found yourself enchanted with the kicky, exuberant soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire, which recently snagged Oscars for original score and song, there’s tons of similar music hanging around the general intersection of Bollywood and electronica. Here are a few great recordings to explore….
M.I.A.: Kala (XL, 2007). This addictive, high energy second album from Maya Arulpragasm includes a song that’s the “calling card” of Slumdog – “Paper Planes,” which was ineligible for Oscar contention because it wasn’t written for the film. The hypnotic, carefully layered backbeat underpinning that track (and really all of Kala) suggests an ongoing friction between opposing worlds. But there’s rarely a collision – like a canny diplomat, M.I.A. aligns contrasting ideas into a flowing, seductive sound that can’t be pinned to any one spot on the map.
Joi: We Are Three (Real World, 2001). Since the early 1990s, London’s so-called “Asian Underground” has been a hotbed of innovative dance music defined by ethnic flavors. This collection of wildly hopeful refrains and subtle polyrhythms, the work of the India-born London-based Shamsher brothers, stands among the most creative, forward-looking works to emerge from the scene.
DJ Cheb I Sabbah: Maha Maya (Six Degrees, 2000). This is the more extroverted, party-time “remix” of Shri Durga, DJ Cheb I Sabbah’s galvanizing blend of Hindustani classical music and futuristic atmospheres. The original offered intoxicating raga-style zones for contemplation; on these inventive reworkings, they’re set to apt, undulating rhythms. It’s a mind-expanding combination.
Transglobal Underground: Psychic Karaoke (MCA, 1997). Sometimes the world-in-a-blender approach yeilds a watery mess, and sometimes the result is a brilliant frappe a la Psychic Karaoke, which juxtaposes precisely chopped bhangra beats against hiphop cadences against the floaty, otherworldly vocals of Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas.
Talvin Singh: OK (Island, 1998). Most of the music that’s considered “ethno-techno” happens at easygoing medium tempos. Talvin Singh, a classically trained tabla player, gravitates toward the zooming, superfast pulse of drum’n’bass for this head-swivelling set, which remains a classic of the genre.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Mustt Mustt (Real World, 1990). Determined to modernize his ancient style, the late qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ventured down some weird cultural cul-de-sacs in his day. But several of his collaborations stand as works of bold vision, notably this album (and its followup Night Song), both involving the amazing guitarist Michael Brook. Starting with simple rhythmic loops, Brooks creates a world that’s at once funky and ethereal, propulsive and spacious. It’s an environment that clearly inspires Khan: These vocal performances contain multiple outbursts of superhuman improvisational genius.
Recordings of Interest, from The List
#1 from Amelia - 03/04/2009 7:20
wow great ! no more no lessCommenting is not available in this content area entry.