Friday, September 18, 2009

Nitin Sawhney's musical journey

"This is a collection of thoughts, ideas, feelings and catharsis in a city of immense diversity, imagination and beliefs. Featuring a whole range of artists, some less known, some celebrated, this music attempts to capture a zeitgeist and common humanity that pervades superficial divides."

-Nitin Sawhney

The above quote is a piece of the liner notes that you’ll find upon opening up London Undersound, the latest release from Nitin Sawhney, which much like the Grates’ album I wrote about a few days, finally saw its US release some time after being released overseas. And just like the quote suggests, it's an album of subtle exoticness. From the opening track Days of Fire, which features London reggae star Natty, to the closing Indian infused number Charu Keshi Rain, which features Anoushka Shankar, the album takes the listener on a musical exploration around the world.

And I'm not talking those cheap airport souvenir trinket type trip. The influences here are blended in subtly, crafted and shaped to showcase all of the many guests who appear along side Sawney here, musicians such as Imogen Heap, Paul McCartney, Ojos De Brujo, Roxanne Tataei, Faheem Mazhar, Reena Bhardwaj, Aruba Red, and Tina Grace. Sprinkled in the album are intriguing interludes that act as bridges between songs.

Put it all together and you have an album that feels somewhat mystical, somewhat otherworldly, but with a solid enough foundation that it doesn't feel too far out there. Listen to Interlude 1. Ghost Image below to get a sense of the mystical touches, and Daybreak to hear the Middle Eastern portion of the musical voyage that is London Undersound.

Visit his website, his label Koch Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

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