Karsh Kale :: Realize
Listened to over and over and over and over and we still can't get enough of the labyrinthine soundscapes karsh weaves through our tiny craniums. We are not worthy.
Ok, maybe we are...at least we try to be.
As Talvin is to the asian underground movement, so Karsh (pronounced kursh) is to the asian massive movement, confident in the belief that one need not be Indian to enjoy his new breed of Indian-classical-fusion.
In addition to his solo projects, Kale has played along side, remixed and collaborated with Paul Oakenfold, DJ Spooky, Paula Cole, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Talvin Singh, Ustad Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain and many many others. He's also leant his talents to four bands in NYC as main precussionist: Bell Cafe Band, Omzone, 32 Tribes and now Realize Live.
All this playing keeps Karsh a finely-tuned engine of tabla-terror that gets inside your head and kicks your head's ass.
While listening to Realize for the first time and working on my other projects I found myself lost in the complex and hypnotising rhythms and zoning out on the task at hand. It was quite refreshing to hear modern Indian music saturated with emotion without all the soft bollywood beats that sounded as if they were lifted from "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."
What makes this cd stand out from all he others in its genre is that the music is completely engaging. No boring loops with poorly thought out sitar riffs thrown on top as 'masala.' We've witnessed enough of that cruelty and KK delivers the salvation here in 13 nearly flawless nuggets of elucidation. [I say nearly flawless because one comparison to his next release Liberation, you know this man is THE living horizon of expansive pan asian sound only to be imitated 5 years later.] This album surpasses all others in beauty and execution.
Ok, perhaps asian-electro-vedic-cyber-rhythmic-rocktronika. Sound good?
The sincere melodies in "Anja" and "Light Up The Love" are warm and thick, like the highest of grades of Amazonian chocolate melting on your tongue; while the driving rhythms in "Distance" and "Saajana" are full blown odes to flying over a familiar landscape of sound. English lyrics in "Empty Hands" and "Home" make Realize more accessible to English-speaking audiences.
With Realize, Karsh has shown us a glimpse of what is to come: a music unto itself, beyond genre and hype. The True Asian Sound.