Posts Tagged ‘Sitar’

Ami Dang

On Parted Plains Ami Dang pushes the concept of traditional sitar to new horizons, weaving South Asian and Middle Eastern folklore with electronics and voice for a record that’s less atmospheric than the instrument is usually utilized. The record works to springboard from the four tragic romances of Punjab, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnun, Heer Ranjha, and Mirza Sahiba; Flora Annie Steel’s Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India, and selected stories from One Thousand and One Nights into a new folktale, one that’s neither East nor West, something new. There’s something of a reimagined history to Dang’s work, technology infecting the memory of the past — horse-mounted riders calling to computers in the sky, AI majordomos threaded through data clouds, forbidden love between corporate rivals. It is built on tradition, but something has grafted those traditions to a new set of circumstances.

Her record buries the notion of sitars as instruments of calm — set dressings in weekend yoga retreats to give the air of authenticity. Here the instrument is dangerous, deceptive, heartbreaking. Underneath the narrative of strings, Dang’s electronics burble with kosmiche life, delicate in one instance, dark and hungry the next. The sitar and circuits become symbiotic, feeding each other with anxiety, aloofness, humility, and pain. Though she works away from the sitar’s status as atmosphere or altarpiece, she does still find bucolic bliss between her moments of tension.

“Make Enquiry’s” middle section floats above the fray in ways that bind the burble to the ripple of strings, pulsing with cooling shudders. Similarly, “Sohni” dances along the light, buzzing with delight and delicacy. Those moments are scattered by the rest of the album’s heavier vibes, though. Even the lightly titled “Love-liesse” is streaked with trepidation (though perhaps that’s just as it should be). The final pieces leave Parted Plains in the darker recesses, but richer for it. The album, much like Elkhorn’s instrumentals from earlier in the year paint heavy aural pictures with instrumentals, soundtracking journeys into the heart of night and the most claustrophobic recesses of the soul.



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Ami Dang – Raiments

Songwriter and Sitarist Ami Dang ditches vocals on her upcoming LP for Leaving Records to craft an album that balances sitar and electronics – dousing Southeast Asian folklore in a burble of Kosmiche tones. The first cut off of her new LP, Parted Plains, is a melancholic, yet ethereally calming track that’s floating in the haze. The record takes inspiration from “the four tragic romances of Punjab, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnun, Heer Ranjha, and Mirza Sahiba; Flora Annie Steel’s Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India, and selected stories from One Thousand and One Nights.” Instead of straight interpretation, though, Dang seeks to view them through a Western gaze that’s obscured the original, giving her album a push-pull of East and West. Check out the video above that animates (via Nicole Ginelli) the album’s glowing cover art. The record his shelves August 2nd.

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Nudity – Is God’s Creation

I wrote briefly yesterday about Portland psych flayers Nudity, and as luck would have it, there is a much needed retrospective of their work out now. Though, its already becoming as scarce as the source material. Nonetheless, this is a vital document of a band that’s been tearing the doors off of the Northwest for sometime. The band culls members of much loved, but short-lived garage band Tight Bros. From Way Back When (Dave Harvey and Dave Quitner), picking up some of the napalm guitar fallout of their output and injecting a heavy dose of Brian Jonestown style quiver n’ quake with a dash of sitar psych thrown in for good measure. The band knows how to work both the octane streaked psych-punk side of things while navigating some more languid moments of drop-out headspace as well, both of which find their space across this well packed retrospective.

The collection pulls together songs from the band’s 2006 eponymous, self-released CD-r plus tracks from the 2005 CD-r Winter In Red. Additional tracks are picked up from a 12″ on Discourage and a comp for Iron Lung, add in a few live unreleased gems, and this is one of the most complete documents of the band available anywhere. Though not recorded as a full length in scope, the record does a pretty good job of feeling like a full release, showing the band’s heavy power, aptitude for covers (Hawkwind’s “Hurry on Sundown” and Flower Travellin’ Band’s “Make-Up”) and shaggier Eastern influences without feeling cobbled together. Likely Nudity is a band that most are unfamiliar with, but at least there exists a document that they came, conquered a swath of psych and burned unbearably bright for a short amount of time.


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