Sunday, February 13, 2005

Radio India : The eternal dream of sound

BY Sublime Frequencies
Edited down from hours of raw tapes of radio broadcasts recorded from 1989to 1996 from New Dehli to Bengal to Calcutta and every point between, RadioIndia is the newest addition to Sublime Frequencies' growing library ofethnic radio collage. It's a massive two-disc set of low-fidelity radiotransmissions that encompass Indian classical ragas, Bollywood pop music,psychedelic rock, lush orchestrals, folk music, electronic dance music and avariety of Indian divas. The patter of on-air DJs, commercials and radiodramas have all been left intact, along with a generous helping of hiss,distortion, sound dropouts and vinyl pops and skips. This compilationimmediately distinguishes itself from the endless parade of NonesuchExplorer and Smithsonian Ethnic Folkways collections of Indian music bycapturing Indian music as Indian people hear it - unmediated by Westernanthropologists and archivists. This isn't a collection comprised ofrehearsed, self-conscious musicians performing the music of theirtraditional heritage in a studio at the behest of Western producers who mayor may not be paying them. Rather, because of the de-emphasis on "tradition"and "heritage," much of the music on Radio India is a delightful culturalcrossbreed - combining traditional Indian instrumentation with newer studiotechniques and effects, freely borrowing from Western pop music, Broadwaysongs, European classical and baroque styles and Arabic orchestraltraditions. It's a jumbled mass of sounds and influences that forms atangible continuum of sound, the Eternal Dream of the album's subtitle.Hypnotic bedrocks of rhythmic tabla form a backdrop for dramatic swoops andcurls of viola and chenai. Though it has certainly been observed before, Inever fail to be amazed by the intrinsically psychedelic nature of Indianmusic; the expressive, reverberating character of instruments such as thesitar and sarongi, the effortless and natural swarms of incense-billowingsound. It's a tradition defined by trance and transcendentalism, byimprovisation and de-intellectualization, by drones and repetition. Indianspirituality is defined by limitless concepts like Krishna and Kali, ratherthan the restrictive paternalistic concepts of Western spirituality. Indianmusic's structure is defined by open-ended, improvisatory interplay betweenmusicians, rather than the rigid, virtuosic displays of Western musicians.It is precisely these differences that make this music so intoxicating toour ears, and Radio India allowed me to live inside this vast museum ofsound for over two hours.
(Jonathan Dean)
This 2 cd compilation is available for $ 16.00 plus shipping from :
Sublime FrequenciesPO BOX 17971 SEATTLE, WA 98127 USA

Some of the other titles from Sublime Frequencies are :
Radio Sumatra: The Indonesian FM Experience CD SF021
Radio Phnom Pehn CD SF020
MOLAM: THAI Country Groove From ISAN CD SF019
Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 2 CD SF018
Harmika Yab Yum: Folk Sounds From Nepal CD SF017
Streets of Lhasa CD SF016Leaf Music, Drunks, Distant Drums CD ANOM26
ISAN: Folk and Pop Music of Northeast Thailand DVD SF015
RADIO INDIA: The Eternal Dream of Sound 2-CD SF014
Brokenhearted Dragonflies: Insect Electronica from Southeast Asia CD SF013
BUSH TAXI MALI: Field Recordings From Mali CD SF012
Cambodian Cassette Archives: Khmer Folk & Pop music Vol. 1 CD SF011
Folk Music of the Sahara: Among the Tuareg of Libya DVD SF010I
Remember Syria 2-CD SF009
Radio Palestine: Sounds of the Eastern Mediterranean CD SF008
Radio Morocco CD SF007
Princess Nicotine: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar (Burma) CD SF006
Jemaa El Fna: Morocco's Rendezvous of the Dead DVD SF005
Nat Pwe: Burma's Carnival of Spirit Soul DVD SF004
Night Recordings from BALI CD SF003
Radio Java CD SF002Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol.1 CD SF001

No comments:

Post a Comment