On his first full release since 2007’s acclaimed collaboration with Anoushka Shankar, “Breathing Under Water” (Manhattan/EMI), drummer, DJ and producer Karsh Kale returns to his roots, presenting a collection of songs that evoke all his influences, which range from modern Indian music to electronica and independent rock.
Take for instance “Mallika Jam,” a tune filled with distorted guitars, tablas and smart lead vocals from Danish singer Anne Rani, who carries the edge of a leader of a garage band that is about to break. The title track is a true tour de force, with long instrumental interludes, Indian vocals and lots of electronic sounds—a recurring theme in Kale’s music. “Avalanche” begins more like an acoustic track with piano, guitar and percussion, but then evolves into a theme filled with odd-timed beats and psychedelic-like strings. Another standout is “Peekaboo,” a ballad with dark tones and almost whispered vocals from Monica Dogra—the only track to feature an upright bass.
On “Cinema,” an enigmatic album that took two years to produce, Kale took different approaches in the writing of the songs, often using piano and guitars instead of his more familiar Indian instruments. And the results are quite fascinating, with new discoveries at every turn. (Ernest Barteldes)
(Six Degrees Records)