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Album: In Time

Artist: Akshara Music Ensemble

Genre(s): World, Fusion, Carnatic

Track Rating
1.     Mind the Gap    ★★★½☆
2.    Mohana Blues    ★★★★☆
3.   Opus in 5    ★★★☆☆
4.   Shadjam    ★★★★☆
5.  Urban Kriti    ★★★★☆

 

  1. Mind the Gap:

The first track from the debut album of New York based Akshara Jazz Ensemble is a solid mix of South Indian Carnatic richness with western instrumentation that melds and spins with ease. At times, the track reminds me one of the L Shankar and John McLaughlin led Shakti and in its easy and laidback flow is a complex and well-orchestrated song structure that requires musical talent that is rarely seen in the mainstream these days.

2. Mohana Blues:

The second track in the album, has won the award for the “Best World Traditional Song” at the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards and is a delicious blend of cello and uplifting harmonies that are supported by the wonderful music of the flute. With a plethora of midrange instruments like violins chiming in this is a stellar second track

3.Opus in 5:

The range of Carnatic ragas the band is comfortable in is on display in the third track ‘Opus in 5’ – a brilliant and polyphonic construction of Eastern and Western sounds that meld and reverberate in equal parts pulsating beats of the Tabla and Takadimi drums. The mellow harmonies of flute and violin bookend the end which gives way to mridangam.

4. Shadjam:

The fourth track off the album ‘Shadjam’ is a brilliant and energetic track where the hammered dulcimer takes centerstage. It embraces the best of flute and violin and brings a incandescent aesthetic that neatly ties up the album together. The beats swell and grow light until the track fades away.

5.Urban Kriti:

The perfect finale wraps up the album with grandeur and elan. A solo from the hammered dulcimer that leads to a cello and pounding of drums – this is the perfect finale to a fantastic album that has shown so many styles of music in a short span it is a refreshing take and a breath of originality.

Picks of the album: Mohana Blues, Shadjam, Urban Kriti

Overall rating:  ★★★★★★★★☆☆