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Tala Matrix

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Album Review

With their debut CD Tala Matrix, the project known as Tabla Beat Science has essentially taken the rich and time-honored tradition of the tabla (a pair of North Indian hand drums) and fused it with contemporary electronica studio wizardry. Tala Matrix is dedicated to the memory of the late, great, and innovative tabla virtuoso Ustad Alla Rakha (1919-2000). The Tabla Beat Science project is comprised of one of Ustad Alla Rakha's sons, the tabla superman Zakir Hussain. Additional members include the venerated sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan; Indian and jazz percussion innovator Trilok Gurtu; New York drummer Karsh Kale; bass, drum, and tabla visionary Talvin Singh; and music programmer Brad Somatik. Producer/bassist Bill Laswell, who "conceived and constructed" the CD, acts as the catalyst for the outfit, adding the bottom end with his dub basslines and the overall aesthetic with his studio prowess. More of a consortium than a full-blown collaboration, not one of the songs on Tabla Matrix features all members of the group. Zakir Hussain's many tracks are among the best on the album, though Trilok Gurtu's funky Big Brother and Talvin Singh's Don't Worry.Com are both extremely compelling. The often zombie-ridden doldrums of electronica should benefit immensely from this experimental union with tabla. An excellent CD that deserves to be heard many times by many people, Tala Matrix manages to be innovative without loosing sight of tradition.

Customer Reviews

The music surrounds you in a cloak that builds and warms

I was given this CD by an Indian colleague while we were at sea on a 6 week oceanographic expedition in the Indian Ocean. Isolation was the norm, and routine activities were required, so we got into daily exercise sessions on bikes and rowing machines and I tuned into these pieces. They maintained such a trance-inducing calmness, and yet a driving rhythm that built from beginning to end, that they became my de facto workout music. I also was turned on to a compilation of Ustad Zakir Hussain and the Masters, which is more traditional but utterly mind-bending in its mastery of the instruments. Five stars no hesitation.


Everyone in Tabla Beat Science is a musical genius. One reason is that they have mastered the art of tabla, and second is that they can fold Indian rhythms with sounds of today. "Biotech" is especially good. If you love Indian music, these guys are some of the best you'll find. Don't forget to check out the Asian Underground on itunes essentials, and to search for Karsh Kale. This group is... spellbinding.


Finally a bridge between the new school jam/electronic sounding and the real deal "play as you are" old school. Anyone who has not seen this band live, must; If you are a true percussion fan. Zakir Hussien....Cosmic tastes for the soulful palate. This is a rare, undiscovered, under appreciated band, and I am honored to write the first review. STS9 fans... DUB THIS.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

The North Indian drums know as the tabla were said to have been invented in the 13th century by Amir Khusrau, a disciple of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizemuddin Aluya. At the time, Khusrau sawed a pakhawaj (a single two-headed wooden drum) in two. Though no one may never know exactly why Khusrau felt it necessary it to saw a pakhawaj in half, his act gave birth to the tabla. Since that time, the tabla have been conceived to accompany vocalists and such instruments as the sitar (a multi-stringed lute),...
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Tala Matrix, Tabla Beat Science
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