Recommended: Saagara – “2”


Waclaw Zimpel‘s Indian Orchestra is far more than a World Jazz fusion of influences, and in some very essential ways, it’s also much less than that, too.  On 2, there is a sense that the clarinetist purposefully restrained his compositions from going into the deep end of any one type of music expression, and by backing off just enough to make a difference, the sophomore release from Saagara resulted in a far more seamless fusion of sounds, and consequently, something far smoother to pour.  The hypnotic, comforting drone of the khaen (a bamboo wind instrument that sounds like an organ purposed solely for ambient music) is, thus, set as the perfect environment to incubate the rhythmic dialog of khanjira, ghatam and thavil as well as a wide-open range for fiery alto clarinet and violin solos to thrive.  Waclaw also infuses the music, via studio wizard mooryc, with tasteful doses of electronic effects which serve to accentuate the organic instruments as much as add something unique to the mix.

Most pieces adopt an upbeat, talkative personality, and considering how the music emphasizes tunefulness as a natural byproduct of complex interactions, it leads to some seriously friendly expressions.  These are melodies fully capable of leaving an imprint on a listener’s memory, and inciting the foot to tap along is fair game, too.  And after all that, the album ends with a simple, gorgeous duet of clarinet and piano.  The sudden jolt of spareness is almost stunning, but it’s the song’s heartbreaking beauty that leaves the lasting impression.

I love this album.

Your album personnel:  Wacław Zimpel (alto clarinet, bass clarinet, khaen), Giridhar Udupa (ghatam), Bharghava Halambi (khanjira), K Raja (thavil), Mysore N. Karthik (violin) and mooryc (production, electronic effects, all additional instruments).

Released on the Instant Classic label.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Warsaw, Poland and Bangalore, India.

Available at:  Bandcamp