Six Degrees Records, 2001
label website, artist website
|One of the corner stones of Asia's Massive Movement, Karsh Kale lists his personal liner note contributions as tabla, drum loops, keyboards, arpegiators, acid lines and low end.
Need I say more?
His extended discography reads like a slick business card with a long row of impressive letters behind the name - from eight remix albums for the likes of Sting, Baaba Maal, Paula Cole and The Cure, to 33 albums as collaborator with luminaries Talvin Singh of The Asian Underground, Susan Deyhim, Herbie Hancock, Bhom Shankar, Bill Laswell and Cheb i Sabbah, to 8 albums under his own name.
Acid. Dub. Raga. Electronica. Trance. Drum'n'Bass. House. Bhangra. Deep Tripperia. Okay, so I made that last one up. But how could you not invent a new label to capture Kale's elusive eclecticism? The Indian-born but US-raised artist honed his skills playing tabla and electro percussion, collaborated with Bill Laswell on the Table Beat Science project and spins discs at NYC's Pasley and Joe's Pub for what are claimed to be some of the Apple's coolest nightclub gatherings.
Realise is billed as Kale's first full-length solo release, but already his track "Distance" has been remixed four times - by the artist himself, British soulmate Banco de Gaia and Indian countrymen Midival Punditz and Captain Groove. This deconstructionist approach is part of the genre's appeal, making an initial offering and seeing it return in refashioned echoes, a kind of long-distance team improvisation between international players.
Because he grew up in the Classical Indian music milieu, Kale's songs go farther than simply being recombinant collages of sampled bhajan or alap snippets parked atop strong grooves. His melodies are specifically created, and the musicians who join him include some true heavy hitters, foremost among those sarangi maestro Ustad Sultan Khan with a rare appearance also on vocals, Ethiopian pop diva Gigi, American bansuri phenomenon Steve Gorn and Falguni Shah on vocals.
Glancing at the invite list of the Realise party, one can't fail to perceive a strong mutual respect exchanged between the Classical contingent and Karsh Kale, putting the latter on even footing to sanctify his craft as a legitimate art form that creates bridges between the timelessness of the ancient East and the pulsing modernism of the West. The artificial dividing lines between the worlds within worlds on planet Gaia are being erased more and more, and while not everyone will embrace the edgy intensity of Kale's eraser, he is celebrated as one of the genre's undisputed leaders and should thus be sampled to stay atop the latest goings-on in the WorldFusion scene.