Karsh Kale

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Fusing electronica with traditional Indian music, Karsh Kale takes on a different approach than Bill Laswell and Zakir Hussain did on their Tala Matrix album (a disc which Kale contributed to). Where Laswell and Hussain built on the traditional hypnotism of Indian music, Kale fuses it with a melodic pop sensibility that, unfortunately, deadens much of the beauty of the sound and delivers it from the magical patience that tabla music is often infused with. He is most successful when he lets the quasi-spiritual trance grooves speak for themselves without making overt musical reference to the genres he is borrowing from (such as on the intro to "Distance"). Mostly, though, the sound is cluttered and ineffective, rendering cheesy what was once gorgeous. The music is at its best when it simply moves along without ceding song structure, vocal hooks, or Americanized instrumentation, like on "Conception." This is rare, though, and Kale exotifies the music without necessarily adding anything substantial to it.

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