1/  Morning Breeze                             (Ahluwalia,Kale,Laswell)      5.56
  2/  Kala Infinite                              (Khan,Laswell)                8.02
  3/  Shive Stone                                (Puthli,Laswell)              6.18
  4/  Mukti                                      (Khan)                        8.40
  5/  Shiva Manas Puja                           (Shankara)                    1.23
  6/  OHM Shanti                                 (Laswell)                     10.01
  7/  Balama                                     (Ahluwalia,Kale,Laswell)      5.57
  8/  Pattern Release                            (Kale)                        3.13
  9/  Here Comes the Sun                         (Harrison)                    3.19

          Created at Orange Music Sound Studio, West Orange, New Jersey
          Engineered by Robert Musso
          Assistant: James Dellatacoma
          Produced by Bill Laswell
          Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtletone Studios, New York City
Kiran Ahluwalia: voice (1,7); Bill Laswell: bass (1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9), percussion (1,2,3,6,7), keyboard (2,3,6,7), drums (3), sounds (6); Karsh Kale: beat construction (1,7), tabla (1,2,4,7), rhythm arrangements (1,7), drums (2,9), percussion (4), programming (8); Ustad Sultan Khan: voice (2,4), sarangi (2,4); Asha Puthli: voice (3); Falguni Shah: voice (4); Masterji: voice (4); Salim Merchant: keyboard (4); Sri Adi Shankara: chant (5); Vidya Shah: voice (8); Robert Musso: guitar (9), Keyboard (9).

          2006 - Meta Records (USA), MT020 (CD)


Meta Records is the label on which creative director Janet Rienstra gives Bill Laswell free rein to explore his (and her) ongoing interest in the spiritual and musical sphere of all thing Hindustani.

This fourth entry in the "Asana" series differs from its predecessors by showcasing vocalists on nearly every track. The vocalists (aside from Ustad Sultan Khan) may not be well known even by aficionados in Europe or the Americas, but that doesnīt diminish their status as virtuosos of their chosen genre. Male and female vocalists Kiran Ahluwahlia, Asha Puthli and Vidya Shah (among others) lend their golden throats to a series of tracks which may not entirely please the purist who shuns electric bass or electronic treatments in the presentation of Indian music. So who cares? The rest of us canīt help but be seduced by an album full of some of the most accomplished "world music" currently on the market - where both sides of the globe are equally responsible for the results. The Hindu gods, known for their tolerance, probably play this at all their parties these days.

The fingerprints of producer/bassist Laswell are all over this compilation, as they have been on the rest of the series. But it is to his credit that, like the seasoned professional he is, he only adds colour to the brilliant performances speckling this compilation, as he has done so many times before.

In its way, this may be the most "coherent" Asana yet. Laswell features on every track (except a short field recording) and performs almost exclusively with subcontinental musicians. The wonderful tabla/percussionist Karsh Kale (Brooklyn resident) is often at his side, knocking out rhythms which breathe fresh air into the vocal stylings of the assembled cast.

The closing tabla-ized instrumental version of "Here Comes the Sun" by Laswell, guitarist/keyboardist Robert Musso & Kale is a lovely and fitting tribute to the late, lamented George Harrison, who is certainly smiling from wherever his latest incarnation has taken him at being by honoured by such talented company.

Stephen Fruitman (courtesy of the Sonomu website)