Ryan Sparks - 4 stars
I have to admit right off the bat that usually anything, especially when it comes to music, if the words 'chillout' are involved, then I can pretty much guarantee that I won't spend a lot of time listening to it , let alone liking it. Now I know it sounds like a cliché to suggest that you shouldn't judge the proverbial book by its cover, but I realized this is in fact what I was doing with Ariel Kalma's latest release Chillout India. Maybe it was because that when I first discovered Kalma it was through his ground breaking electronic ragas of their early 70's on the brilliant recent re-issue of Le Temps Des Moissons, that I could not bear to think he was venturing off into chillout, ambient territory. However, Kalma is someone who has long been known for fusing various different styles and cultures of the world into his own unique musical mosaic for over forty years, so I have to further admit that I was both frustrated and confused as to why my reluctance and trepidation to delve into this album was basically hindered by my own impractical, preconceived notions of what basically amounted to nothing more than a word.
Without getting into further analysis of my own insecurities, by the time the first track "Hindinasia" was halfway through all of my thoughts were out the window, as I continued to listen somewhat embarrassed with myself. As the beautiful, mellow sounds of a bamboo flute and equally as soothing electronic tribal beats lightly caressed my brain, Indian vocalist Siddhant Bhatia entered the mix to give this engaging composition it's distinctly Eastern feel. Chillout India is billed as Eastern moods on ambient grooves and Ariel in addition to providing grooves and programming effects, also displays the considerable skills that he's world renowned for on flute and saxophone on tracks such as "Deva Dancing" and "Sarega Sax". The nine minute track "Hardi Ari" is opulently layered in such a way, that along with the steady, understated hypnotic grooves, it creates nothing less than the ultimate, relaxed listening atmosphere.
Chillout India is further proof that Ariel Kalma's inimitable vision of seamlessly blending the diverse cultures of the world can indeed bring the citizens of this planet a little closer together through music. It might also help tear down the odd preconceived notion as well.
Published in Tandem and Corriere Canadese newspapers
From the “it’s a small world after all” department comes a package from Australia by a musician who’s rediscovered music from the ‘70’s I reviewed in June. Back in the day Kalma was a sax player in the French jazz and art-rock scene that got into World music and traveled the globe (including a tour of Quebec in the ‘80's as music director for the famous Margot Anand’s Tantra seminars). Now Kalma lives in Australia and produces music in the company of musicians from India and Indonesia.
His Music Mosaic label publishes cds that are packaged for the New Age wing of the chill-out scene, but “Chillout India” has more in common with the World fusionist excursions of people like Bill Laswell and Talvin Singh. Midtempo rhythms from electric bass, hand drum and tablas create a flowing groove as male Indian vocals or flutes weave introspective melodies over spacious synth backgrounds.
The vibe is not entirely ‘ambient’ either, as double tracked vocal harmonies or Kalma’s jazzy sax solos foreground more impassioned feelings. “Sarega Sax” moves the sound west from India to the Middle East, as Kalma becomes an Arabic Manu Dibango in tandem with snake-y synth lines.
Visit Music-Mosaic.com for sound clips and mail order info, as well as discovering more of Ariel Kalma’s wonderful catalogue of music for didgeridoo and tribal drums.
From Paul Headon
Emanations/ Sirius FM Music, Australia
This is the latest offering from Music Mosaic, one of the leading labels specializing in the Ambient/World/Chillout music scene. Ariel Kalma is the prominent musician holding all of this together and is ably supported by some of his friends, including Bhakta, Stefen Be and Efen Jaenudin, however the one that really stands out is Siddhant Bhatia. His singing is so hypnotic and reminds me of the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
This record is of a very high standard on so many levels.Ariel’s woodwind and production skills are of a musician who KNOWS his art and loves it!! The overall production is beautifully crafted, the grooves are very good without repetition rearing it’s ugly head and the finished product, helped by mastering maestro Kamal M. Engels is right on the mark!
All the tracks are good – no weak links on this chain!!
My favorites are “Deva Dancing”, “Chillout India” and the beautiful “Hardi Ari”. I cannot get sick of this track!!
Like all music of substance one has to listen a number of times before you “get it”. “Chillout India” fits this attention level…. and then some!
I have no problems in recommending this record to anyone even remotely interested in this beautiful genre.
Reviewed in Music Design - In Review
MUSIC MOSAIC COLLECTION
Category: World Beat
Music Mosaic is known for their compilations, which usually mix together tribal influences and beats with electronica. CHILLOUT INDIA turns the focus away from the 'various artists' format in favor of an album completely put together by producer Ariel Kalma. The style of the music will be familiar to fans of the label's releases - it is a funky energized blend of trippy beats, synth moods, some Asian-oriented instrumentation, wordless vocals and sax. As the name implies, the general essence of chill-out music, creating a vibe that is trendy and perfect for creatign a colorful, Indian-oriented atmosphere. Includes guest appearances from Bhakta, Siddhant Bhatia, Nanda and others.