Someone took the sitar out clubbing for the night
Fusing traditional instruments with modern technology can often lead to some really cheesy music. Sometimes it can also lead to inventive beauty and shine a new light on world fusion. Enter Mohamed Assani, a fantastic sitar player who does not stay within the lines of traditional music standards. He is happy to place his compositions with rich Indian percussion and and traditional settings but is equally happy smashing a a riff over a dance beat. That is what makes ‘Wayfinder’ so fantastic to listen to.
Across seven pieces, totalling over an hour of music, Assani moves effortlessly across the electronica spectrum, sitar in tow all the way. Hearing the instrument played so differently to match the vibe of the song, you’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t always a sitar leading the way. ‘Black Sugar’ mixes deep RnB grooves with a seductive unravelling of chords. ‘Awakening’ mixes shimmering new age keyboards with harmoniums and raja hums. ‘Darbari Dub’ brings plenty of beats into the mix whilst ‘Transit’ aggressively uses a variety of electronic percussion to send you on a journey. Each track has a different feel and that works to the albums strength.
As a bonus, Mohamed Assani has not shunned the more traditional, evocative and freeing feeling of traditional Indian music. ‘Lullaby for Guli’ is a beautiful new age ballad and ‘Khusro’s Footsteps’ is vibrant and full of life. The bombastic way the drums, sitar and bass line all interact feels cleansing and cinematic at the time.
Anyone with a penchant for world fusion, electronica or a love for Indian themed music will adore this release. It is full of complex and rewarding songs that keep changing and evolving over time. I’m not a particularly spiritual person but I can see new age lovers really connecting with ‘Wayfinder’ on a deeper level. For me, it is just crammed full of fantastically emotive music.
Recommended track: Serendipity
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