Karsh Kale


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Indian percussionist and composer Karsh Kale's second effort for the Six Degrees label offers further evidence that the man is simply incapable of producing a boring album. On Realize, his full-length debut (not counting his many remix credits and studio appearances with such artists as Sting, Bill Laswell, and Herbie Hancock), Kale promiscuously blended electronica, classical Indian music, and rock & roll, and he does so again on Liberation. But he avoids repeating himself by incorporating orchestral strings on several tracks (courtesy of the Madras Chamber Orchestra) and by refining his approach somewhat, doing more with fewer musical elements. The neat and tidy jungle beats, distorto bass, and melismatic female vocals on "Instinct" may not be exceptionally innovative, but they sure work well, and the incongruously titled "Dirty Fellow" is both melodically sweet and headbangingly funky. The album's two highlight tracks are "Milan," which cleverly blends tabla, flute, funky drumming, and strings to create something that sounds very much like what Bill Laswell is often trying for and frequently missing on his own worldbeat experiments, and "Epic," which closes the album with a lush and gorgeous soundscape over which funk beats are layered episodically. Highly recommended.

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