Talvin Singh & Niladri Kumar – Together (World Village/Border) CD REVIEW

THERE WAS massive hype around UK tabla player Talvin Singh in the late ‘90s, and much was made of his fusion of drum’n’bass and Indian/World music. Truth is, I reacted against the hype, but a decade on, those albums still sound pretty good, impervious to changing fashions and the march of technology.
Electronics take a back seat on Together, a collaboration with sitar player Niladri Kumar (who is possibly justly famed for his zitar invention – a guitar/sitar cross) that nevertheless is subtly infused and tweaked with a full toolkit of computer wizardry.
To the naked (or unsuspecting ear), however, these pieces will probably sound like sometimes lush and dramatic movie music with passages of freewheeling improvisation. There is something filmic about this instrumental music, but nothing at all Bollywood or cheesy. It’s just that at times it feels just a little generic.
Mostly, however, it’s an impressive exposition of focused performance with a smattering of gorgeous melody, and anyone with a soft spot for the complex conversation of tabla percussion will find much to enjoy.
Unfortunately the sound recording just lacks that extra bit of depth and massive attack (ha-ha) that would have distinguished it from other similar projects. GARY STEEL
Music = 3.5
Sound = 3.5

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