Tabla Beat Science
Hmm. Tabla Beat Science. The first picture that comes to mind is some Shankar-related cousin sitting in the lotus position before a set of those funny-looking little drums, with some incense burning, and a chalkboard and pointer to lecture us on the scientific history of the instrument. Well, forget that.
Like a rollercoaster with no slow climb up, you’re jettisoned out into a world of enthralling and energetic rhythms. Lots of company here for a set of tablas, other worldly sounds, and a variety of ethnic instruments that are just plain better heard than named. Don’t expect any blazing guitar solos or sizzling bass riffs, but everything that accompanies these tablas blazes and sizzles in overdrive. You won’t get much peaceful meditation in, and for this time being, that is an excellent thing. Tala Matrix is a going to make it difficult for you to sit still at all, let alone in any lotus-like position.
Modern and ancient textures and sounds combine perfectly here, and that’s not too surprising considering that the “sound constructionist” is Bill Laswell, whose forays into the world of worldbeats and other worldly paths has kept my ears piqued and tweaked since his experimental work with Material almost two decades ago. The reference list of his collaborations is too massive to go into here, but this time, “additional production” is provided by Talvin Singh and Karsh Kale. The power-tabla work is provided by the legendary Zakir Hussain.
This is some incredibly cool beatstuffs, so unique that the ordinary bucket of complimentary and descriptive adjectives can do no justice. As they put it, Tala Matrix is definitely an “Adventure in Electro-Acoustic Hypercussion” and well worth the search.