Ali Khan


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The qawwali/trip-hop/rock fusion style that the Ali Khan Band introduced on their first release, Taswir, is perfected and taken to new levels on this album. Taswir was an interesting and impressive album, but Zindagi is more polished and more diverse than its predecessor. It seems as though the band has gotten more comfortable with their signature style and is therefore willing to take more risks and introduce different sounds. It's unusual for an act to use a saxophone, a rapper, and tablas in the same track -- and even more unusual for them to make it cohesive -- but this band actually manages to do it. The title track, "Mere Zindagi," has an almost Western-style hook that winds itself through the whole song and inspires listeners to sing along, even if they understand none of the words. Isaac J. Frierson raps on "Piyar Piyar" and "Mast Kalander," lending bits of dancehall and hip-hop to each song, while "Sindhri Do's" light tone is reminiscent of earlier works byKing Sunny Ade. The beginning of "Gorak Kalyan" sounds for all the world like early-'90s smooth jazz, but the tune swiftly shifts into a more traditional Middle Eastern style. Zindagi floats cheerfully yet purposefully along and draws the listener with it. It's a varied, intriguing, highly musical work that can compare to any other album in the genre.

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