Good Music We Can Know

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jungle Symphony: Ananda Shankar- Sa-Re-Ga Machan (1981)

If you've never heard this, you're surely in for a treat.  You may very well have heard it, however, since it's been drifting about upon the flotsam-strewn blogsea for quite some time.  I think I got it from EXP ETC a few years ago, when he did that Ananda Shankar mega-post.  But since those links are now gone-- and I'm currently enraptured anew of this record-- I thought I'd take a moment to toss it up.  Let's try and catch up to any unfortunate souls who may have thus far eluded this slinky Indian tigress.

Mr. Shankar is, of course, the nephew of Ravi Shankar, though I hasten to add that one did not educate the other in the art of sitar, and thus the detail is of mainly anecdotal significance, at least as far as I know.  Indeed, in my (egregiously uninformed) estimation, Ananda's sitar stylings have never been the strongest suit of his East-meets-West psych/jazzy fusions.  The shredding on his most famous track, "Jumpin Jack Flash", feels to me ultimately more Strawberry Alarm Clock than Stones-circa-Satanic Majesties (though undoubtedly it is technically superior to anything from either).  What I do find so enchanting about Mr. Shankar at his best is very simple.  His wonderful cross-pollination sets Indian tradition alongside Western funky popcraft, employing a half-and-half band of tabla, sitar and the like, and electric guitar, drums, moog, etc.  The result is deeply, classically exotic, and has the kind of muted, cinematic, sexy trippiness of the best production library LPs (Roger Roger and Nino Nardini spring to mind, but you knew I'd say that, I'm sure). 

Sa-Re-Ga Machan is my favorite Ananda Shankar outing.  Perhaps precisely because it has so little sitar, and so much flute and moog and the like.  Or maybe because it sounds almost exactly like Jungle Obsession, replete with those Stringsonics string sounds, or a more Indian version of "Soul Vibrations" from Dorothy Ashby's Afro-Harping.  Whatever.  You'd love it.  Nearly every track is a mysterious ecstasy of jungle shadows and lurking seductive danger. Music that sounds like this positively requires a tiger for its cover art.

Just a side note: if you grabbed my last Jungle Shadows mix, you've definitely heard my all-time favorite track from the record, and one of my all-time favorites period, and that is the sleek and exquisite "Night in the Forest." 



Alia said...

thank you for this and thank you so much for your blog!!!

Treeline said...

Stunning stuff, been lurking a while round your murky mixes thought I'd just say thanks for sharing..

Pierre D said...

I never heard this. Thanks for the opportunity.


Many Thanks for this gem

Anonymous said...

not my link, found somewhere out there in the ether that is the interweb. very high quality 320 rip.

Flash Strap said...

Very kind of you to share!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Flash Strap,

I listen to your mixes while cleaning houses (that is my job). I may be physically scrubbing toilets, but, mentally, I am in paradise. Thank you for providing us all with such joy!



Flash Strap said...

Karl: May you live a thousand years, sir.

Olyann said...

INFINITE THANKS! I've been looking for this for a long time!! I even ordered it on amazon and the cd got lost in the way... -_-

I added track numbers so as to get the correct order which is:

I'll upload it!

Olyann said...

I added track numbers and corrected the order!!!

Thanks again!

Zer0_II said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is one of the few Ananda Shankar albums that I haven't had the pleasure of listening to yet. Judging from your description, I'm in for a real treat this afternoon, which I could certainly use at this point. I also wanted to thank Olyann for providing the download mirror with the corrected track order & numbers. Thanks once again and take care.


Flash Strap said...

Yeah, Olyanna's seems like the rip to get. I should make a note of that, thanks for reminding me