Up

Karsh Kale

Six Degrees Records, 2016

http://karshkale.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/06/2016

Karsh Kale is an Indian American artist who is known as a composer, producer, musician, and DJ. Regarded mostly for his tabla drumming and film scores, Kale flirts with all sorts of noises in his work, and on his seventh album, Up, his highly eclectic sounds range from rock, pop, folk, and electronica, all while being sung in multiple languages.nbtc__dv_250

The album leads off with “High,” where Kale's mood is set with flutes, beats, and tabla, and continues into “Up,” where Karsh's distinct singing is backed by a sitar. “Butterfly Effect” brings in electric guitars, and then later adds a busy electronic element with strings. “Thin Line Of Blue” is where things get more ambient, and the strong keyboards with electronic beats draw parallels to the sort of post-rock coming out of Iceland.

At the middle, “Play (Electric Tabla Nights Mix)” is a busy, party anthem for a foreign land, while “Be Like Water” goes the opposite direction into space-lounge music territory. “Shiva” then brings the energy back with hooks and has the most rock based template on the album.

Near the end “Following Sunlight” meshes Kale's experience with both Eastern and Western sounds with a sing-a-long appeal, while “Wake” is a one-minute interlude with just a sarode and keys. “Shyam” then closes the album out with programmed drumming, guitars, a bansuri, and Monali Thakur's expressive vocals.

Piecing together sounds from classical, Hindustani, and rock, Kale's time in the Asian underground scene, Indian classical concerts, and behind the drum kit for rock bands culminates here in a listen that is both cultured and progressive. But it also does a great job in not alienating the listener. While it's unlikely that Kale will see much mainstream attention for Up, those with an ear for a cinematic and soaring quality will find much to enjoy here.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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