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Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti | Rakshasa

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World: Indian Classical Classical: Contemporary Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti

Redefining the limits of Indian/Western collaboration with 73 minutes of stunning world premieres, including by Minimalism legend Terry Riley, Punjabi folk reimagined and visionary virtuoso Simon Thacker’s Hendrix influenced backwards guitar masterpiece
Genre: World: Indian Classical
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dhumaketu
6:37 $0.99
2. The Five Elements: I. Ether-Akasha
3:38 $0.99
3. The Five Elements: II. Air-Vayu
3:03 $0.99
4. The Five Elements: III. Water-Jal
3:02 $0.99
5. The Five Elements: IV. Fire-Agni
2:46 $0.99
6. The Five Elements: V. Earth-Prithvi
3:31 $0.99
7. Swaramant
14:17 album only
8. Anusvara - 6th Prism
9:56 $0.99
9. Svaranjali
4:06 $0.99
10. Multani
4:34 $0.99
11. Kahnu Marda Chandariya Chamka
3:00 $0.99
12. Main Tenu Yaad Aavanga
4:23 $0.99
13. Shava Ghund Chuk Ke
3:24 $0.99
14. Rakshasa
6:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Rakshasa, the debut album by Indian/Western supergroup "Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti" has been acclaimed in 50 reviews around the world for setting a new benchmark in intercultural collaboration, and for the guitar, with world premieres of 73 minutes of stunning, accessible new music written for them by some of the world's greatest music creators, including legendary US pioneer Terry Riley, India's Shirish Korde, the UK's modernist master Nigel Osborne and visionary guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker.

Each of the composers has a unique perspective and experience on the richness, contrasts and confluences between Western and South Asian culture. You will hear elements of the North and South Indian classical systems transformed, Punjabi folk reimagined, the immense expressive possibilities of ragas extended with Western harmonic explorations, visceral improvisation interacting with great compositions, the combining of the explosive Indian rhythmic systems with the boundless searching of cutting edge Western classical and jazz, as well as inspiration from sources as diverse as Hendrix, Heavy Metal, Flamenco, Blues and Indonesia.

The album breaks new ground for the guitar with the unprecedented merging of East and West, the integration of new tunings, ragas and harmonies and one of the most advanced uses of the backwards guitar recording technique pioneered by Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles ever to appear on CD, using up to eight tracks of simultaneous forwards and backwards guitar, with Tibetan singing bowls, waterphones and jaw dropping tabla playing on the demonic title track.

Punjabi folk songs originally sung by luminaries Surinder Kaur, Narinder Biba and Asa Singh Mastana are reimagined by Simon Thacker bringing a plethora of influences to one of India's most beloved and instantly recognizable folk styles

Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti features Thacker's unique synthesis of world traditions and contemporary innovation on the guitar with the beautiful voice of Japjit Kaur, leader/director of Britten Sinfonia Jacqueline Shave on violin and renowned tabla (Indian percussion) master Sarvar Sabri, who has a musical lineage stretching back ten generations to the Royal Court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Working with some of the most distinctive compositional voices of today they have created one of the most successful, wide ranging and ambitious intercultural programmes ever assembled, refreshingly listenable yet effortlessly redefining the limits of Indian/Western collaboration.

The World Music Report (Canada)
"Not only is Mr. Thacker a sublime technician but his artistry seems to soar above that of most mere mortals. His ability to extract such meaning and expression from merely six nylon strings speaks of true genius... a brilliant musical odyssey that will resonate for years to come."

Classical. net (USA)
"Exploring classical traditions from all of India and then meshing with Western sound might sound like a misstep. It's genius...Nothing bores. Nothing stalls. Each selection highlights the instruments in a different way, testing the limitations and understandings of each voice and creating something unique. It's not classical music, or world music. This is classical music for the world."

Elsewhere (New Zealand)
"It is expansive, inclusive and thrillingly inventive, often unpredictable music which is grounded in many traditions (notably Indian folk) and -- hold your breath -- the title track at the end is a tour de force of backward/forward guitar sonics (over tabla, Tibetan singing bowls and waterphone) which is a real headphones trip. At six and a half minutes it is like a mini-raga inverted in from Mars."

Critical Jazz (USA)
"Simon Thacker pulls off the impossible by creating a unique hybrid unto itself, Indian music composed with classical structure and with the improvisational depth found in traditional western jazz."

FRoots Magazine
"Just when you think you have Rakshasa sussed despite it continually springing surprises, it reveals the cunning trap that is Thacker's solo track Rakshasa. For music, for packaging...and for inspirations, Rakshasa is one of my albums of 2013."

Jazz Journal
"Unsettlingly unfamiliar octatonic blues runs add strange vibes to Svanranjali, while Thacker's breathless title track is a scintillating mashup of Hendrix-like backwards guitar and rhythmic devilry. A captivating collection for the enquiring ear."

Jazz and Beyond (Australia)
"The quartet often finds itself in modes of burning vibrant unison attacks giving way to sunny, sublime new found-lands
Thacker’s musicianship is such that inventive improvisation is not so much an intention but a natural consequence and the music may move through notation into spirited freedom."

"Rakshasa creates musical sound-scapes that range from the accessible and comfortable to the complex and challenging; it is an album rich in musical vibrancy and colour... It’s also an exceptional piece of work – in any culture."

"This is music that fully transcends genre because it traces the migrations of Indo-European ideas and traditions, not along earthly roads but through multiple dimensions."

The Australian
"Rakshasa strikes an exquisite balance between traditional Indian music and modern composition while exploring the former's relationship with other genres...A wide-ranging program, burnished by bravura playing, is bookended with instrumentals composed by the leader that genuflect to past pathfinders."

Rainlore's World
"There is nothing to fault on this brilliant, monumental album. Rakshasa is above all a work of exquisite beauty. Its charm is irresistible and should cast its spell on not only the contemporary classical music connoisseur but also the more serious 'world music' aficionado. This is an album to just fall in love with, and a must have." .

Touching Extremes (Italy)
"For our good luck, there are still musicians who absorb hundreds of influences and synthesize them into substances that transmit, for lack of a better word, peace. Such is the case of left-handed guitarist Simon Thacker...Music that sounds honestly melodic, intelligibly involved, rhythmically ambitious but, at the same time, effortlessly assimilable."

"Rakshasa has an extraordinary authority and musical surefootedness to it...No matter what comes after it, Rakshasa will remain one of the essential albums of 2013."

Pulse Magazine
"The fiery and mystical opening Dhumaketu is certainly one of the defining pieces of the ensemble.Twists and turns of lightning guitar phrases build into crescendos that fall into slower, rumbling riffs...One is sure to enjoy the dazzling display of sounds and myriad of movements that Svara-Kanti's 'sound world' has to offer."

Daily Record
“Edinburgh’s Simon Thacker is a classical guitarist but, like George Harrison, he has seen how intertwining two styles can actually work. By blending them, he has created something highly listenable but very different. The styles don’t jar-they emote. Turn this on, tune in and be transported.”

ATTN: Magazine
"Thacker’s creative drive is borderless, fusing a great respect and fascination for cultural origin with the acknowledgement that even deeply embedded musical values can be uprooted from their geographical source and rethreaded through an elsewhere."

NE:MM Magazine
"Simon's title work "Rakshasa" has other worldy, surreal sounds as the guitar and tabla work their way through an ominous musical morass."

Planet Hugill
"Each piece takes different elements from Western and Indian classical musics and combines them in different ways... stunning solo and ensemble contributions. The four performers clearly developed a strong feeling for their material and the way they collaborated."

Jazz Views
"It is evident from Thacker’s generously detailed sleeve notes that his project is informed by a high degree of musical and philosophical scholarship but one doesn’t have to have academic leanings to enjoy the staggering display of virtuosity on offer, still less the passionate interpretations"

The Scotsman
"It is perhaps an indication of Thacker’s stature as a musician that he can commission from the likes of Terry Riley, patriarch of American minimalism, who wrote the 14-minute SwarAmant...Thacker’s own compositions here – including Multani for guitar, violin and tabla, which he premiered at last year’s Glasgow Jazz festival – reflect his own far-ranging musical journey: witness the echoes of flamenco that emerge in pieces such as the opening Dhumaketu...Thacker’s progress seems one of unstoppably forward motion."

Musical Pointers
"A thrilling CD which develops innovations enjoyed in these musicians' first CD and offers a generous 73 mins of exciting music. Simon Thacker is a restless innovator, and this great compendium ends with an enthralling piece which incorporates "reverse recording" of his guitar with notes, instead of decaying, crescendoing to demoniacal effect. The presentation is colourful and exciting too, and this is likely to become one of our recordings of the year."

The Arts Desk
"Thacker's Multani sustains its fiendish 15/16 rhythm with unerring ease, and his reimaginings of Punjabi folksongs are beautifully done, Kaur's vocals adding extra authenticity. Thacker's exuberant Rakshasa closes the disc, its fancy production tricks never sounding gimmicky."

Eastern Eye
"One of the most original albums of the year...the brainchild of the master musician and renowned composer...one of the most talented musicians in the UK".

The Scotsman
"The line-up of Simon Thacker’s group Svara-Kanti – violin, voice, tabla and Thacker on guitar – is enough to suggest that its debut album, Rakshasa, blends Indian musical elements with western ones.
But the influences imbued in these world premiere recordings of Thacker’s own rhythmically exciting Dhumaketu, Nigel Osborne’s stratospherically beguiling The Five Elements (featuring the soft vocal allure of Japjit Kaur), and Terry Riley’s strangely fragmented SwarAmant, embrace sources as distant as Flamenco and Indonesia. Supreme performances, teaming with energy, especially from Thacker himself."

The Herald
"Thacker has the passion to justify every note. This is unmistakeably the product of people at the very top of their profession."

Eastern Eye
"a hauntingly atmospheric world music album that combines Indian and western musical cultures."

Monsieur Délire (Canada)
"A beautiful production, musically and visually...Thacker pens several compositions, including the excellent title piece...Natural-sounding genre-crossing music."

International Record Review
"An honourable mention for Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti, an impressive quartet of guitar,violin, voice and tabla which on Rakshasa knits Indian music and a range of European and American traditions into a remarkably cohesive whole. Thacker and his associates have a genuine feel for fundamental musical commonality and the new directions that can arise arise from it, with results that could easily belong both in the concert hall and on a WOMAD stage"

Asiana (album of the month)
"Rakshasa sets a benchmark, it’s a stunning composition of Indian and western sounds, 73 minutes of musical expertise"

Guitarist Magazine
"A complex fusion of Western classical guitar and Indian musical traditions. Hypnotic"

Sequenza 21 (USA)
"If I could point to a single track that represents the core of the music, I would choose Thacker’s composition Svaranjali. The scales and rhythms used throughout this propulsive work are right on the edge of traditional ragas and something you might find on a Bela Fleck album."

“Their combined efforts result in 14 magnificent tracks (73 minutes) of world premieres that push the boundaries of inter-cultural sounds.”

Roots of the World
"This album is a compelling and exhilarating meeting of musical styles, cultures, traditions, and moods."

"Simon Thacker’s compositions and reworkings demonstrate his skill and sensitivity in the teeth of what amounts to a considerably complex and original journey with little precedent. His mastery of the guitar allows him to pilot the ensemble through unchartered waters with great conviction."

“A natural hybrid of East and West perhaps does not lie easily on a guitar. One solution is alternative tunings. The one which best suits the raag at the core of Thacker’s Multani converts the standard tuning of E–A–D–G–B–E to D–A–D–G–B flat–E flat. This extraordinary situation, where the pitch of half the instrument is unreliable, requires major rewiring of a lifetime’s habits. This was nowhere apparent in this piece. Thacker threw himself into it as though it were home soil. It is this sort of courage, together with the dedication to make the unnatural familiar that results in extraordinary musical projects like this. I sensed from the musical communication between the very impressive individuals involved that they know they are onto something special. I expect great things in the future.”

Jazz Journal
"Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti is far more than just a vehicle for his virtuosic fusion of Western and Indian classical guitar stylings. Joined by vocalist Japjit Kaur, internationally renowned tabla player Sarvar Sabri and acclaimed violinist Jackie Shave (leader of the Britten Sinfonia), the group straddle jazz, raga and contemporary classical traditions....Opening with a Thacker composition – a trio for guitar, tabla and violin – the interface between contemporary classical music, Eastern traditions and the post-ECM sound was very apparent....Fusing old and new aspects of two very different musical cultures "



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