TALVIN SINGH — OK (review)

TALVIN SINGH — OK album cover Album · 1998 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Released in 1998, Talvin Singh created a wonderful fusion recording incorporating, Indian, Electronica, Western and even Classical into the mix. Programming is the under pinnining of the album by Talvin Singh with plenty of beat. Supported by Tabla, Drums, Keys, Piano,Gongs, Scratches, Atmospherics,Tapes and that is just Talvin, Indian Orchestra, Choir, Strings, Voices, Electric Violin, Trumpet, Sarangi, Shenai, Flute, Pipes, Breaks, Bill Laswell gets to do bass on one, Guitars, Sanshin ( Japanese Lute,Banjo ). Not all instruments are on every track but contribute to various pieces within the album. Talvin Singh who plays on every track is part of "The Asian Underground" which describes muscians and DJ,s who are living in England but are from the Sub Continent ( India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Sri Lanka) and who are influenced by Indian Repertoire infused witth western electronic beats which started this style of music in London during the 1990's. Talvin Singh has a few credits up his sleeve as he collaborated with some great musicians, Sun Ra, Bjork, Madonna, Blondie, Ustad Nusrat Ali Khan, and has done a few remixes for some big names in the music buisness as well. Talvin grew up in East London and travelled to India for a brief period to learn Tabla were after returning to London began the process of infusing this with Western Beats which brought him to his album debut "OK"

" The World is Sound" is the phrase we hear repeated which begins the first number "Traveller" where things start slow over electronics and piano with voices coming in and out and that quick beat comes in underneath but things still keep the slow time above. Small dub influence is there with echo but held together brilliantly where things come back with with the dropping of the beat and the Orchestra is used to create a beautiful sublime piece of music with flute and choir. The selection of the track order was superb with knowing where to place the songs because the follow up 'Butterfly"is simply beautiful with a quick beat underneath and Sarangi and flute putting down the icing. Track four " Mombasstic" is where Bill Laswell makes his appreance on the album and Bass does it shake at the intro, plenty of beat but also Byron Wallace makes an appearance on trumpet and as usual with Byron he puts down one cool passage on muted trumpet. "And now the true story of ectasy" which leads to an Indian play with some of their poetry followed by some fast beats and scratches and is quite a short piece and more an introduction to the next one "Eclipse" which is another tune interspersed with Hindi voices and that beat just keeps coming The titlle track 'OK is up next and this where the Japanese instrument the "sanshin" gets to do its stuff with the intro and used throughout between a choir which sings in Hindi giving the tune one different unique structure with those quick beats and electronics. Perhaps the most beautiful and slow composition is "Light" which follows and the piano intro is right on the money, flute that just floats and Talvin's tablas guiding. Of course the beat comes back with a fairly quick time underneath but it gives the tune texture and whenever I think of this recording this is the sound that springs to mind. We still have another three tunes to go but enough is enough. They are good.

What we have here is one great different, original album. You may think that being primarily electronic driven that it will be boring with same old thumping bass beat as modern House or Jungle seems to be but do not fear this is nothing like that. Within the music is simply breath taking with its complexity, original and new outllook towards Drum and Bass.
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