Trilok Gurtu :: IZZAT
review from shree
What's the ultimate tribute someone can pay an influential artist?
A remix album? Perhaps.
So when I first heard that one was in the works for master percussionist Trilok Gurtu, I was stoked to say the least. Not because I was a fan, but because, try as I may, I could never appreciate his Indo-African-jazz fusion. So here was my chance - some of the freshest artists to emerge from the electronic realm putting their individual twists on someone who was an inspiration...sounds good to me, especially since I come from the so-called 'rave generation.' If listening to Izzat ('respect') was going to have the same effect that Star Rise: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brooke Remixed had on me five years ago, then it was time to get schooled.
Ignoring such innovators as Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney (who both cite Trilok as a major inspiration), and focusing on other, lesser known acts (Phil Mison, anyone?), Trilok has assembled quite an eclectic range of styles. Of course, he is no stranger to diverse sounds; after all, everyone from Zakir Hussein and Asha Bhonsle to Don Cherry and John McLaughlin have been past collaborators.
Instead of kicking off in style, the 11-track disc begins with an unimpressive dub remix by Black Star Liner. It kind of just trudges along and the synth manipulations don't do much to salvage this sorry excuse for a remix. The follow-up, "Future Heat," is a nice, digitally enhanced, percussive number with traditional vocals segueing in at around 4:00. "Protector" and "Inner Voice" both manage to preserve some of the original instrumentation and vocals by layering them over medium tempo beats. So far, mostly enjoyable, downtempo, easy listening material here. Things don't really get in-your-face until track five, by "the most under-rated mixologist" (amen, D:mm), TJ Rehmi. Sticking to a fluid dn'b groove that he does oh-so-well, "Shobharock" manages to peak my interest.
Phil Mison's Cantoma Mix of "Om" is sublime and mellow, a pleasant change in tempo with its Spanish and Desi influenced Balearic groove. The always cutting-edge Fun-Da-Mental also contribute a downtempo mix of the same tune that works just as well. If you're not familiar with the turntablist crew, the X-ecutioners. you need to pick up "Under the Influence" a mix released by the excellent Six Degrees record label. The X-ecutioners' hip hop modus operandi is present here, by way of Rob Swift, who cuts up "Blessing in Disguise" to ill effect. The Orchestral World Groove Mix of "Future Heat" is a disappointing end to an otherwise tight set; the overly-commercial beats and modulations that make Euro-cheese dance-pop unbearable, are rampant here.
Overall, a good introduction to the man, the legend. This collection of mostly solid tunes may not make me rush out right away to pick up Trilok's original material but I look forward to exploring the source of such inspiration.
Couldn't have given it a better name myself.