Tabla Beat Science
The rhythm of Indian music is geared to long cycles, often 16 beats. These recurring cycles are known as a tala. Each tala has a different point of emphasis, which can give rise to an almost limitless amount of possibilities. No wonder that Indian percussionists can study 16 hours a day for years and years in order to master the thousands of possible percussive patterns or what might be called 'the tala matrix.'
Take an Indian tabla master like Zakir Hussain or Talvin Singh. Theoretically, they could play more rhythmic talas than any drum machine is capable of. What if you pushed the tabla out in front of the audio mix so that they essentially became the extroverted soloistthen filled in the supporting players with a combination of traditional Indian drone and with a collection of ambient musical sculptures a la Bill Laswell? You would have the group known as Tabla Beat Science.
The material on Tala Matrix ranges from the very traditional to very modern ambient world fusion. There is the classical sounding "Devotional," featuring sarangi and vocal by Ustad Sultan Khan with just a hint of rhythmic augmentation from Bill Laswell. At the other end of the spectrum, there's the modern deejay club remix "Triangular Objects." Call it Indian-house-music.
Contributions by the different members of Tabla Beat Science pull the tala matrix in many different directions. Karsh Kale moves to the deejay underground. Zakir Hussain moves along the more traditional routes of Indian music, yet he's strong enough to focus the most far-out ambient-trance sounds that Bill Laswell can come up with. Percussionist Trilok Gurtu contributes "Big Brother," a dance track on which he plays both tabla and drums. Talvin Singh contributes two tracks, "Don't worry.Com" and "Triangular Objects", which are in the 'future groove' vein. Tala Matrix is an adventurous blend of Indian groove music that should find its most enthusiastic audience among young dance-oriented people whether they live in Bombay, London or New York. -Aaron Howard
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