Tabla Beat Science :: Tala Marix
Ten years ago, during a trip to visit my extended family in India, I came across a tape in a local record shop in Calcutta called "The Ultimate in Percussion" by Ustad Zakir Hussain. I'd grown up listening to Indian classical music all my life up to that point, but had never really 'gotten it' until that moment. What Zakir was doing with just his palms and fingers, on what I'd previously and incorrectly assumed were glorified bongos, was a stunning revelation. Not only in terms of the beauty of the seemingly infinite palette of sounds capable of being produced by the tabla, but also in the vast complexity of the intricate rhythms produced by them. Eight years later I was fortunate enough to begin my own formal study of these profound hand drums and it's been an absolute blast ever since.
For purists of tabla this album may take some getting used to, but after a few listens it'll start to make sense. Zakir Hussain is without doubt the undisputed reigning Master of the tabla today and his playing is as flawless and expressive as ever. However, the real treats on this CD are from the contributions by the new generation of players. Talvin Singh and Karsh Kale seamlessly combine tabla beats with lush multi-layered drum and bass loops and hints of melody throughout. Ustad Sultan Khan lends his haunting sarangi and vocals on two tracks for an air of traditional authenticity to the project. A notable mention to jazz-fusion 'pundit' Trilok Gurtu for his inspired track on "Big Brother." The grand finale is Zakir's closing track on "Alla," dedicated to his late father, the legendary Ustad Alla Rakha, displaying the true tabla in all it's 'undigitized' glory.
Produced by Bill Laswell.