Nataraj XT | Short Cuts | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Music News

Nataraj XT

Imagine Ravi Shankar jamming with Big Country. Add an electronic backbeat and you're pretty close to the title track of Ocean Birds from Nataraj XT. The title rings of New Age, and there are hints of such sounds here: the downtempo trippiness and weepy slide guitar of "Space In..."; the trickling-water intro and meandering flute line of "Magnetic Nights." However, California native Richard Bernet (sarod), France's Pierre Moitram (sitar), and Kapi (samples, programming) keep the pace far from sleepy on these 11 tracks.

Bernet studied sarod (a lute-like string instrument) under Master Ali Akbar Khan in California before traveling to India to further soak in that country's culture and music. Likewise, Moitram studied sitar in Paris and India, while self-taught multi-instrumentalist Kapi delved into digital music beginning in the mid-1990s. The resulting amalgam is a catchy blend of exotic Eastern melodies layered densely over Western dance rhythms, featuring strains of goa trance but reaching past that form's parameters. Jazzy horns inform the sitar workout "Freeze," for instance, backed by drum 'n' bass beats, which also underpin the narcotic-trance sarod and sitar overline of "Tadnapak." Elsewhere, the spoken-word vocal of "Funny Tune" exhorts the listener via popping, funk-inspired bass and organ amid the hypnotic sitar swirl.

Mining a vein similar to labelmates Bangmarsh and Shri, though with a heavier emphasis on traditional Indian instrumentation, Nataraj XT proves there's a place for mystical tabla-techno.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Ferri

Latest Stories