A really interesting album. The quality moments just keep coming, and the playing is relentlessly brilliant. I was half expecting the album to dull after the sensational opener, but that never happens.
Favorite track: Lanes.
By track 4 I knew I was buying this, "this" being a merging of Western jazz with Indian tonal scales and rhythms by Waclaw Zimpel. Jazz with strong Indian spice, Waclaw swings (lyrically), the 3 Indian percussionists (no tabla!) groove, and the violinist manages to imitate a sarod. Producer mooryc provides some sonic manipulation, and synth(?). The last track is just overdubbed clarinet and piano, icing on a delicious aural cake. My ears are very happy. :-)
Wacław Zimpel - alto clarinet, bass clarinet, khaen
Giridhar Udupa - ghatam
Bharghava Halambi - khanjira
K Raja - thavil
Mysore N. Karthik - violin
mooryc - production, all additional instruments
Saagara, Wacław Zimpel’s Indian orchestra, released their second album “2” on Instant Classic label on February 27th.
“2” was recorded in Bangalore last December. “I started my preparations around two months ahead of my trip to India”, admits Zimpel. “Once the draft versions of songs were done, I decided to share them with my producer mooryc in Berlin. Together we clarified the structures, added some melodies and I was ready to jump on the plane. One of the first steps we took in India was to play some concerts. And although majority of our setlist each night consisted mainly of older tracks from Saagara’s debut album, we managed to expand our sound by adding some electronics”, he recalls.
“My main aim for this album was to create a bridge between Indian sounds and Western music logic in order to go against some popular trends”, says Zimpel. “Saagara’s first record was a deep dive into Karnatic tradition but I had to admit to myself that I am by no means a classical Indian musician. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to steer the band to the West but avoiding popular world music clichés. Thankfully Saagara is a very creative entity.”
“2” is a third Zimpel album to feature a significant input from Berlin-based producer mooryc. “I put significant effort to change my sound spectrum. mooryc is mostly associated with electronic music and maybe that’s why his approach to acoustic instrument is fresh. It opens my mind to new means of expression”, explains Wacław. “Our collaboration operates on constant thoughts exchange but this time his work is more visible all over the album despite the fact that he didn’t participate in the recording session.”
To support the record, Saagara scheduled a short tour in Europe. The band played in Germany, Ukraine and Poland. “My Indian bandmates love performing in my homeland. They have always been welcomed enthusiastically here. One of the distinct features of Indian music is its positive message and maybe that’s why people react spontaneously to our concerts”, says Zimpel.
released May 12, 2017
composed by Waclaw Zimpel & mooryc, track 3 composed by Waclaw Zimpel, mooryc & Sara Kaluzna
recorded by Pramath Kiran in Bangalore December 2017
produced and mixed by mooryc
mastered at Calyx Mastering Berlin