Exposé Online banner

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition — Agrima
(Self-Released no#, 2017, LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-14

Agrima Cover art

I’m going to spare you the comparisons to other jazz sax players and just flat-out say that Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the best players today in terms of creativity and having a distinctive voice. With Agrima, we find him in the context of his Indo-Pak Coalition, a trio previously featured on Apti back in 2008. Mahanthappa’s cohorts in the group are guitarist Rez Abbasi, whom we’ve covered on some of his solo work, and percussionist Dan Weiss, who handles kit drums, tabla, and electronics. All three musicians are well versed in both jazz and South Asian traditions, but what they’ve created is almost more akin to multicultural rock than most previous Indian / jazz collaborations. If you think of John McLaughlin’s Shakti being the prototype, Agrima is almost unrecognizable. Abbasi gets in some of his best playing yet, with fuzz-laden drones, wildly unhinged leads, and subtle use of feedback and effects, like a hybrid of McLaughlin, Bill Frisell, and Steve Tibbetts. His unaccompanied into to “Revati” is one of the album’s highlights, and features some amazing backwards-sounding phrases and soundscape washes that sound like heavily processed echoes from his live part. Weiss is equally adept on tabla and drum kit, and has a way of playing the kit that is more akin to the propulsive flourishes of the tablas than standard drum set parts heard in jazz or rock. His use of electronics is not overpowering, just occasional keyboard-like sounds and synth noises. Mahanthappa’s playing is superb, applying extended techniques to complex melodic lines without losing the flavor of the notes and never just screeching. I think there is some subtle use of electronic effects on his parts as well. He also manages to come up with parts to back Abbasi’s lead parts without getting in the way or sounding like he’s trying to steal the spotlight. Over the last 50 years, many artists have combined Indian music with jazz and rock, but nobody has done it quite like this. No matter what section of the store you file it in, Agrima is an outstanding release.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Rez Abbasi, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dan Weiss

More info
http://agrima.rudreshm.com

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Waiting – This is Porcupine Tree's latest three-song CD EP, appropriately titled I suppose, while we are waiting for the release of their next full length CD Signify this coming fall. The music here is a...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues