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Trilok Gurtu
The Beat of Love

By Srajan Ebaen
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Trilok Gurtu "The Beat of Love"

Compact Disc Compact Disc: Blue Thumb 314 549 745-2 Compact Disc


Genre: India/Black Africa funk hybrid

  Percussionist Trilok Gurtu's musical war chest not only stocks Molotov cocktails from his well-known post-bop Jazz explosions with the likes of Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny but also exudes sympathetic vibes from his mid-80s membership in the fusion group Oregon, from touring with Don Cherry and Andy Summers, from recording with Jan Garbarek, Bill Evans and Josef Zawinul and accompanying classical pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque. Born to a sitar player and influential classical Indian vocalist, Gurtu emigrated to Hamburg/Germany in the late 70s and continues to teach rhythm clinics while outputting a steady crop of well-received fusion albums, with The Beat of Love being his latest.

With special guests Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Wally Badarou, Wasis Dip, Jabu Khanyile, Roop Kumar and Nandini Sirkar, the emphasis of Beat is clearly on a merger between East Indian and Black African (as opposed to Arabic Northern African) musical styles, where Deep Funkiness meets Modified Bhangra. The overall gestalt is one of sparse arrangements, dominated by rock-solid drum kit and emphatic tribal vocals that completely avoid the synthetic edge of Techno, then fleshed out by sketchy keyboard programming and the occasional electric sitar or other exotic timbre thrown into the mix for deeper color. Some of the grooves feature the kind of cyclical structure at the heart of most trance music that begins to spin within tightly set-up boundaries only to take the sympathetic listener far outside them. This isn't so much music for listening, as it is music to move to, physically, in a kind of Latihan where the body is directed not from the head but from the seat of rhythm in the pelvis and a swaying neck.

The Beat of Love is cosmopolitan enough to avoid being filed into the "New Guinea" section where record salesmen hide stuff they can't figure out how to place; visceral enough to avoid languishing in a semi-catatonic state on an old fogy's system; unusual enough to elude generic top-20 shoppers; but just mainstream enough to be stocked by the average record shop. There you should take it for an exploratory spin, well-greased hi-tops at the ready to put some fancy moves on the floor, and with enough time in your pockets as chances are great you'll outspend your leisure reserves quicker than you'll realize. Simply, The Beat of Love is cool sh-t for those who think of themselves as hot shit. And that's no sh-t, Sherlock! Where's your mojo?








































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