Review : Nitin Sawhney - London Undersound
MusicomhWhen an album starts referencing issues of race, nationality, politics, the 7/7 bombings and De Menezes shooting, and how 'London's heartbeat has changed', surely the first action of any sane music fan would be to cover their ears and run for the hills with Fucked Up playing as loudly as possible on the iPod.
This would be a completely understandable reaction but, be warned: it would also result in you missing out on a genuinely compelling album that manages to rise above its pretentions and have far more musical merit that its Guardian-reading, art collective, organic dinner party-hosting intended audience deserves. Yes, this is music for the sort of people who buy you sponsorship of a Tanzanian goat instead of a Christmas present, but it's bloody good music nonetheless....full text
Guardianwere the explosions swallowed up by the cacophony that is pop today? This is often the sort of question that can attend to listening to a new Nitin Sawhney album - and before anyone can mutter 'surely Bloc Party must have recorded something along those lines', let's be quite clear: 'Days of Fire', the first track on London Undersound, is certainly the most thoughtful and affecting response to the horrors of that day yet committed to CD....full text
GuardianNitin Sawhney describes London Undersound as an album of collaboration that sets out to explore how "London's heartbeat has changed" since 9/11 and the bombings of July 2005. His collaborators range from the sculptor Antony Gormley, who provides the cover art, to a cast that includes Paul McCartney, Anoushka Shankar and Spanish stars Ojos de Brujo, providing musical influences that range from flamenco to drum'n'bass, Indian classical styles, dub and pop balladry. Remarkably, it works. It starts with the vivid and descriptive Days of Fire, which already sounds like an urban classic and was co-written by London singer Natty, who witnessed the 7/7 bus bombing and was in Stockwell tube station at the time of the De Menezes killing. McCartney co-wrote the thoughtful My Soul, which is given an Asian edge thanks to the flute and backing vocals from Reena Bhardwaj, while Aruba Red worked with Sawhney on the edgy Last Train to Midnight. A gentle, powerful and personal lament for London.
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