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Tala Matrix

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Call it an aggregation of some of the best contemporary percussionists: Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, and Asian Underground star Talvin Singh combine under the sonic washes of producer Bill Laswell to show the possibilities of Indian percussion. It's definitely a beatfest, but one of subtlety, where what is being said isn't as important as the way it's being stated, and the dialogue between hands includes a lot of silences. Gurtu comes from a more jazz tradition, Hussein a classical background, and Singh represents the brash young things of the dance floor. Mostly Laswell leaves it to them to provide the sonic entertainment, which is as it should be with delicate swathes of sound barely intruding, just coloring the proceedings. While it's not for everyone, those who love Indian percussion in all its forms will find this album a complete joy.

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Call it an aggregation of some of the best contemporary percussionists: Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, and Asian Underground star Talvin Singh combine under the sonic washes of producer Bill Laswell to show the possibilities of Indian percussion. It's definitely a beatfest, but one of subtlety, where what is being said isn't as important as the way it's being stated, and the dialogue between hands includes a lot of silences. Gurtu comes from a more jazz tradition, Hussein a classical background, and Singh represents the brash young things of the dance floor. Mostly Laswell leaves it to them to provide the sonic entertainment, which is as it should be with delicate swathes of sound barely intruding, just coloring the proceedings. While it's not for everyone, those who love Indian percussion in all its forms will find this album a complete joy. --Chris Nickson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: September 12, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Palm Pictures
  • ASIN: B00004XT0D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Feel free to tell me that I'm using this CD in the wrong way - but I find it particularly good to come home from a tough day and relax with this in the background.
As well as being very easy to do, it is the sort of album where you don't really feel ashamed saying that you fell asleep to it. After all, in traditional ceremonies tablas were meant to inspire trances - and what is a sleep if not a big trance?
As far as the music here is concerned, it is great. The collective of tabla virtuosi (or Ustads - as far as I can work out) blend together almost seamlessly. I know that there are some tracks on which more than one performer is playing but I can't tell which ones these are without cheating on the liner notes. It is also very interesting to see the use of technology by each player.
This ranges from Talvin Singh's sampled voice saying "Don't Worry Dot Com" on the track of the same name, right through to the strange computerised reverb on "Audiomaze". Along the way we pass vague dub basslines (provided by producer de jour Bill Laswell) and various chants from what sound like whirling dervishes. While none of these uses of technology actually detract from anything (track or album) they do somewhat interrupt the continuity of the album - although this is a minor cosmetic problem.
Apart from this, the album flows beautifully, with each track having various intensity levels throughout which don't seem to change with any great deal of speed - again contributing to the trance factor.
Of particular note is the final performance "Alla". This is an 11 minute solo done without benefit of technology by one of the performers in memory of his late father - also a tabla master.
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By Tapan Karwa on September 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is a great CD. Although the music is fusion, percussions dominate. Completely. Tracks 2, 7 and 11 are just superb. The others are great. TBS proves there are no limits.
If you like "live at stern grove", you should like this one too. The difference is that this is a studio album and so the music has been mixed (well) in comparison to "live at stern grove" where you get to listen to the music as is. Also, this one is percussion-dominated.
The tabla sequences are long and amazing. Its a complete delight. Nothing less. Your will see your fingers tapping.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is a MUST! Bill Laswell has done it again. He's rounded up the top Indian based percussionists together to create the best record yet of the whole "Indian Breakbeat" cuture. Zakir Hussain is regarded as one of, if not the best Tabla player or percusionists in the world. He's one of the creators of "East meets West" sound. Here he is featured as the main Scientist along side the other "Who's Who" of the Indian fusion scene; Talvin Singh: The Asian Underground Original, "Tablatronics" pioneer; Trilok Gurtu: another longtime Jazz/Fusion percussionist who's drum set style is totally unique and mind blowing; Karsh Kale: NYC's Tabla Breakbeak Kingpin and special guest Sultan Khan: who's one of the only masters of the Sarangi (a bowed instrument) as well as a beautiful vocalist too. These guys all shine together. Laswell with the help of Singh and Kale over see the production of this futuristic release, so think "Drum and Bhaya"(Bass). Exellent fingerwork and TAPistry woven in with exellent programming. If you liked Talvin's Anounka or OK records this is the next step right here. Think incredible rhythms and filtered Tablas. Organic vs. Electronic. All stand out tracks, but aspecially "Dont Worry", "Big Brother", "Audiomaze" and "Alla" a fitting tribute to Zakir's late father and teacher Alla Rakha, Who was the man who brought the Tabla to new heights and made it a household name with longtime partner Ravi Shankar. Buy this now! I need it on Vinyl too!
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Format: Audio CD
Wow, i was thoroughly impressed with this album. It's a combination of traditional Indian Tabla drumming with an electronic production value. Each track has sick beats and really cool effects and loops. The tabla drumming is excellent on every single track. There are also other really cool asian instruments (like the sitar, etc.), which only add to the greatness of the beats. Many of the tracks are fast paced jungle beats, and others are more down-tempo ambient beats. But they're all really PHAT! I love this cd for parties, or just for chilling out and relaxing. It is simply a great album. Bill Laswell has really thrown together a great collection of artists and songs, with equally great production on each track. Big thumbs up and Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I am usually not much of a fan of electronica/D&B, whatever it is called, but I listened to this in the store and kept listening, then decided I had to buy it. After listening to it a few times, I think the reason it is so listenable is that the tabla rhythms are not static and the electronica elements and backgrounds are incorporated very tastefully and usually subtly - the music does not grow tiring or repetitious. It comes across as sort of (dare I say) Peter Gabriel-esque, combining world music and modern production surroundings in a good way. The long songs seem to set one's mind adrift. It's excellently recorded too. This was a good find.
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