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Ananda Shankar

One of the true hereos. Why they don't just re-issue all of his LPs we'll never be able to fathom.

The "Westoxified" Indian godfather of all things rock from the south Asian ’70s. The electric & acoustic guitars, the sitars, the rock rhythm section, the synthesizers, the beautiful romantic melodies, the psychedelic sound, the percussion sections, the string sections, the organs, the sarods... the GREATEST. Some of the nicest instrumental productions ever — the distinctively Indian habit of hitting the tape so hard that it distorts is used to its most magical effects on A. Shankar's albums. But his music is not Bollywood, it's less schizophrenic. While what's great about a lot of the Bollywood stuff is precisely its dynamic juxtapositions, with Shankar it's all in the writing and arranging —both of which are absolutely top notch. You could almost compare him to Burt Bacharach in terms of his relaxed and quite moving and sentimental approach to songwriting. But there's so much there, so much stuff packed into that relaxed stride, any comparison is going to be inaccurate.

We've heard a few too many people write-off western-influenced Indian music like this as "cheap," and we're just not having it. For one thing, to our ears Ananda Shankar is one of the few people on earth who seemed to consistently specialize in first-rate musical compositions with really thoughtful productions, at least in his 70s period. For another thing, his music literally craps all over the late hippy excursions into wowie-zowie incompetent sitar playing with rock bands (we do love some of that stuff, but there's no comparison). However West-influenced he may have been, the nuances of melodic style and orchestration signatures here are not to be found on any record by any Western musicians anywhere. Say what you want, this music is a treasure and is to be highly valued. We've been loving this stuff dearly for a long time, and will continue to until we lie down in our graves.

Having said all this, it verges on travesty that the ’70s era A. Shankar albums aren't better known. With late-term hipsters finally embracing Indian film music, and now people like Omar Khorshid becoming all the rage after all this time, what the hell is going on? I mean FUCK. It doesn't get any better than Ananda Shankar. Pull your head out.

For the love of God somebody re-issue this stuff.

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