Sky Dancing :: Nada Masala 3
Take 1 - Sitting in an office, mid-afternoon, fighting off a sluggish lunch- I pop in Sky Dancing: Nada Masala III for invigoration. Dakini has a good track record in this CD spinner - the Nada Masala series, Makyo's solo joints, the incredibly serene Jairamji - so I'm ready to take this American mind Japanese-South-Asian stylin'. Pad Thai swirling in stomach, head looking for something to jolt; I have to abandon immediately and opt for the last Taraf De Ha ïdouks album. The Gypsy jazz realigns my Hungarian charkas as I fiddle back to consciousness.
Take 2 - Next night, at home, hunched over laptop making nonsense out of metaphor. The 12" screen blurring, I know the chances but try again. I play it in surround sound, hoping the increased wattage makes a difference. I feign creativity on the keyboard until I notice my cat Osiris suddenly passes out, moving from catnip frenzy to stage four narcolepsy without missing a beat. I brew some green tea, throw on some Klezmer hip-hop and ram my head into the wall a few dozen times.
Take 3 - Leaving Webster Hall circa 4 AM Saturday morning, all Jeremy can say is "Put on something chill." I remember Sky Dancing in my bag and pull it out. And then: it clicks. I realize I had been trying to find gold in a copper mine, navigating an ocean without hoisting the sails. It's a situational record, and when the situation is right, it's damn worth it. I try to slam my head into the car door for my impunity and J looks like I'm a freak; I smile and blame repressed memories.
Driving through the Holland Tunnel, submerged hundreds of feet below agua, the oxygen thins but we breathe easier. Filed under "South Asian chill," there's a roving cast of characters showing what happens when you take 8,000 years of Indian acoustic ornamentation within the context of beats, rhymes and modern life. Makyo's opening "Pashyanti (Deeply Dubbed Mix)" and Karsh Kale's old "Ashes" inspire anew, both backbeat digital cuts pasting and layering elements of evolving syncopation. By the time we hit Jairamji's "Temple" we've found our own, driving through the early morning streets of Jersey City trying our best to forget the techno-clad club monstrosity from which we just emerged. Unfortunately Nada 3 doesn't live up to its elders, but what child does? Some cuts are unnecessary: thinking Bageshree's "Bhakti" is adoration of a different demon. But in the world of chill, Makyo & crew reign supreme. If the situation is right, they do no wrong.