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Album Review

Indian percussionist and composer Karsh Kale's second effort for the Six Degrees label offers further evidence that the man is simply incapable of producing a boring album. On Realize, his full-length debut (not counting his many remix credits and studio appearances with such artists as Sting, Bill Laswell, and Herbie Hancock), Kale promiscuously blended electronica, classical Indian music, and rock & roll, and he does so again on Liberation. But he avoids repeating himself by incorporating orchestral strings on several tracks (courtesy of the Madras Chamber Orchestra) and by refining his approach somewhat, doing more with fewer musical elements. The neat and tidy jungle beats, distorto bass, and melismatic female vocals on "Instinct" may not be exceptionally innovative, but they sure work well, and the incongruously titled "Dirty Fellow" is both melodically sweet and headbangingly funky. The album's two highlight tracks are "Milan," which cleverly blends tabla, flute, funky drumming, and strings to create something that sounds very much like what Bill Laswell is often trying for and frequently missing on his own worldbeat experiments, and "Epic," which closes the album with a lush and gorgeous soundscape over which funk beats are layered episodically. Highly recommended.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Percussionist/songwriter Karsh Kale (pronounced Kursh Kah-lay) is primarily known for his tabla (the paired hand drums of northern India) and electronic percussion playing skills. Born of Indian parents, Kale grew up in the U.S., but was equally influenced by music of the East and West, resulting in the creation of a highly original style -- where electronic dance and meets Indian folk. Kale's debut on record was as part of Tabla Beat Science (the 2000 release Tala Matrix), while his own debut album,...
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