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Saturday, February 03, 2007

[2005] Chuck Jonkey - Charana: An Odyssey of India

To contrast the 'banging beats' of Infected Mushroom I picked an album I really am fond of that settles you down a bit and takes you on a journey that is a little more, well grounded..
I will tell you now: It is only of a mere 128K bitrate but it is all I can find of this release and believe me, it makes little difference surprisingly. I would be the first to complain of a low bitrate recording and how it ruins the experience, but I picked this up a while back and have listened to it a lot without even remembering it's of such a bitrate so please, don't be put off by it!
What we have here is a rather inventive and original mixture of traditional Indian sound and the instruments that go with it, notably Sitar and Drums, layered over some cool and hypnotic drumbeats and electronica, and some brilliantly worked in guitar. Bass riffs mixed with what sounds like Spanish Flamenco Castanets. It sounds like there are so many instruments in there at times, all fitting together, complimenting one another, offbeat timings, harmonies, the human voice chants, it really gets under your skin and into the nerve centre if you like(!). Some flamenco inspired guitar playing appears seemingly out of nowhere as if on the wrong track; but then you realise, it sounds just as natural as all the other sounds.

I don't know of any other band or album I could seriously compare this to.
Though this is most definitely Indian in roots, the influences that unfold are so many and varied that it makes this one of the finest soundscapes you might hear.
I am aware that this is tagged as 'New Age' and so a lot of people pigeon hole it or disregard it right away. I have to admit, I friggin' hate those new age shops where you go in and they have rack after rack of CD's with all this relaxation music and world music..none of it seems to have any soul. Just mass produced mass marketed pap.
This guy is different, methinks.
I just read on his site - he travels the world gathering experiences and collecting instruments..then he tries to convey that in his music. As well as making a huge profit no doubt.
Anyway it's bloody good stuff and I will be seeing if I can get any more soon.
Read his breakdown of this album on his page.


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Time for some shut-eye.


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