Friday, June 25, 2004

Vijay Iyer (cancel the ho-hum), and the merits of being in a band

Last night I linked to this article in the New York Times on new US based South Asian music.

Most of it was familiar material -- DJ Rekha, Karsh Kale. It was interesting that they mentioned Karsh Kale's Kollective party but not Mutiny (admittedly, Mutiny is over).

One nice mention in the article is Vijay Iyer. Iyer is a New York based jazz musician. He has a great website, which has links to several MP3s (listen especially to "Density of the 19th Century"). Iyer reminds me a little of Nitin Sawhney in that he moves between jazz, drum n bass/funk, and Asian-inflected sounds. But he's also less esoteric. Sawhney is an amazingly talented musician, but his recorded CDs sometimes just seem to drift a little far afield for my tastes. It sometimes benefits people to join a band (or a group weblog) because it forces them to reconcile their ideas with others; it keeps individualism from turning into solipsism.

In that respect, the fact that Iyer collaborates with all these other artists (Mike Ladd, Rudresh Maranthappa is a refreshing sign.

Try Iyer's interview on NPR. The text interview on SAMAR is also good. Beware of watching the MPEG video of the release performance, however! It's a little much.

I've ordered the CD In What Language, and might review it soon. Sadly, amongst the Amazon reviews of the CD (average: 4 stars) is this horrifying rant:

My basic problem is that I think rap, hip-hop, whatever, is the puerile, solipsistic detritus of our sad postmodern times.

So what if "people of color" had trouble at airports following 9/11? Is that some tragedy? No.

I'll tell you what is a tragedy: thousands of children left homeless by the actions of Islamic maniacs crashing flying bombs into the World Trade Center.

Bloated, supposedly hip narratives like those purveyed in this pitiful disc come across as whining in the face of real tragedy.

Just brightens your day, doesn't it? After reading that, go spread some love... smile at a neighbor, write a positive review of something you like, hold the elevator for a dude in a wheelchair.

Don't let the trolls win.


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