Sixth Album Fuses Eastern, Western Sounds
Acclaimed Indian American musician and eclectic percussionist Karsh Kale rocked the house at The Conga Room at L.A. Live last week, as the contemporary artist promoted his sixth and latest album, Cinema, which is released under Six Degrees Records and Mighty Junn Records. Known for fusing the classical Indian instruments of tabla with modern western electronic beats, Mr. Kale has established himself as a respected and leading percussionist who works with a wide variety of musicians and artists.
“I guess I’d call it Asian Electronica or Asian Fusion. It’s really hard to put it into words … for people who don’t have a context,” Mr. Kale told Buzzine in an exclusive interview.
Among the lines Mr. Kale blurs in his melding of genres include complementing his percussionist talents via tabla with a little bit of imaginative rock melodies, a dash of inspired orchestral tunes, and mixed with more than a touch of “progressive electronica.” It is a style of music bearing no true definition, which was on full display last weekend at The Conga Room.
While Mr. Kale has definitely made inroads as quite the influential musician, he believes he is part of a greater movement where successful Indian artists and entertainers in the mainstream are becoming more commonplace. Fittingly, he connected the growing success of Indians and Asians in general in mainstream entertainment and media to the music he creates.
Due to the diversity and range of Mr. Kale’s mastery and repertoire on display in the 13-track Cinema, fans can inundate themselves in his new compositions with a unique ensemble of instruments such as the guitar, drums, keyboards, and his very own electric tabla. The renowned percussionist also blended a diverse group of artists capable of taking audiences to a level very few musicians are capable of reaching.
An eclectic album, Cinema leads off with the progressively retro “Island” before moving into the electric tabla inspired “Supernova” (which features the Midival Punditz) and the sitar-themed “Man on Fire” (featuring Pandit Sunil Das).
With the title track, “Cinema,” at slot number four, other notable tunes include “Mallika Jam” (featuring Danish pop star Anne Rani, Pandit Mukesh Sharma, and classic rock inspired guitar riffs), and the dark yet sexy “Pekaboo” (with Dhobi Ghat’s Monica Dogra providing lyrics).
The latter portion of the album is highlighted by “Phoenix Rising,” which captivates the listener with aggressive bass lines and beats, as well as reverberating chords.
In the end, the aesthetic Cinema establishes Mr. Kale as a revolutionary musician who has never lost a beat in his quest to intertwine Indian classical music genres such as film music, Hindustani beats, and Ghazal tunes with contemporary electronica-rock.
Raised in Stony Brook, New York, Mr. Kale was drawn to music at an early age. Partially inspired by his father, Mr. Kale eventually took a rather serious liking to the tabla and Indian classical music. It would only be a matter of time before the prolific percussionist would find his calling as the master of blending melodies of East and West.
In using his extensive experience to put a modern twist on Indian classical music, Mr. Kale has certainly made inroads as one of the most revolutionary and breakthrough artists of his time, focusing less on vocals and instead more on delivering a strident and energetic musical performance based on inventive instrumental arrangements.
His unique brand of music has not only garnered him massive attention from music fans and connoisseurs around the world, but Mr. Kale has also caught the eyes and ears of fellow acclaimed musicians such as Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, Cheb i Sabbah, Kevin Hays, Tim Ries, and Karl Peters.