Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Suphala - Alien Ancestry (Tzadik, 2013)

Suphala is a tabla player who has studied under a number of classically trained Indian masters, as well as playing with a number of pop and jazz musicians. This album weaves a wide range of music with a large group featuring Vijay Iyer on piano, Amir Elsaffar on trumpet and Bill Laswell adding his unique mojo to the proceedings. Suphala’s tablas develop a simmering feeling of incantation throughout the music. Bubbling and shifting and reshaping the rhythm with a sense of continual motion. Horns join in at times, developing a beguiling swirl, or horns, clarinet, oud and percussion. The fast paced rhythm of the percussion is tuned at times so instruments resemble percussion that rings and resonates. Vijay Iyer makes his presence felt a few times on piano which adds further melodic flavor to the cascading percussion. It is the amazing sense of rhythm that is the most impressive thing about this album, Suphala has seemingly internalized everything and then developing the music in hypnotic fashion and at a dizzying pace. The texture and fabric of the music is constantly changing, with Laswell playing master of ceremonies, mixing the music and adding subtle hints of electronics and a near danceable sensibility. The melding of Indian music along with jazz and forms of improvisation are consistently interesting on this album. It is a central meeting place where diverse influences are combined together in a crucible of passionate music. Alien Ancestry - amazon.com

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