Ravi Shankar
The Sounds Of India


5.0
classic

Review

by Joshua Hunt USER (21 Reviews)
October 31st, 2013 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist


Master sitar instrumentalist and composer, Ravi Shankar is by far the most well known Hindustani classical musician to ever live. Becoming an internationally acclaimed artist in the 60’s and attaching his name to The Beatles as George Harrison’s mentor; releasing a slew of Hindustani classical albums that were awarded Grammys and other high honor awards, Ravi Shankar became a global world music icon. His influence is regularly observed in numerous forms of music ranging from pop, rock, metal and even hip/hop in some instances. Even after his death in December 2012 his prestige is still impactful.

Ravi Shankar’s ‘The Sounds of India’ is feasibly his most well known release. Consisting of five tracks, four of which exceed the ten minute mark, this musical exploration of Indian cultural music is held in unquestionably high regards. Serenely levitating through intense improvisational recordings based around sacred Ragas, Shankar is accompanied by esteemed tabla and tambura players Chatur Lal and N.C. Mullick respectably. Chatur Lal’s tabla skill is especially notable as the performance on this record is positively outstanding. Matching Shankar’s technical ability rhythmically is no easy task and his quick responses to the intensity of the improvisations are easily recognizable as innovative. Mullick’s use of the tambura is equally matched as the dynamics flow well with Shankar’s improvisations and the drone notes match the rhythmic stylizations superfluously.

Undoubtedly however, Shankar’s performance is the glistening gem in this collection of works. This master of the Ragas nimbly works his way across the neck of his sitar in the smoothest of fashions. While slowly grooving to the drone notes Mullick resonates the music is not only heard; it is felt. Even when high speed tabla rhythms are pulled into play his smooth fluidity allows for even the most highly difficult segments to come across as entirely effortless. The quick wit and natural feel of the improvisations allows for the human element of the music to be connected with regardless of musical and personal background. Each and every time a sitar string is bent and picked notes resonate in a brilliant way. Shankar’s phrasing, note selection and natural feel make each track feel entirely unique no matter how many minutes have passed by. Ideas presented never even seem to be recycled, the work is simply masterful.

‘The Sounds of India’ is a classic album and an appreciation of Indian classical music is not even necessary to understand that. Ravi Shankar’s music is deeply ingrained into a culture of music and the fact that it transcends that culture entirely is a testament to its status. Not only did Shankar perform an iconic series of difficult Ragas improvisations but he allowed for those not of the Indian culture to piece together a mild understanding of what goes into this delicate art form. He takes time before each track to explain the Ragas and the rhythms that will be demonstrated and then he makes excellent use of them. Ravi Shankar’s ‘The Sounds of India’ has broken through a cultural barrier and carried tradition to those who may have never experienced it. In doing this Shankar did not simply create a masterful album; he strengthened the ties of humanity across the world.

Rest in Peace Pandit, Ravi Shankar
April 7, 1920 – December 11, 2012



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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I studied Hindustani Classical music as a focus for a research paper for my Music Theory major and I've been studying/learning sitar and a few middle eastern intruments for a few years now so I heavily appreciate this album. Hope everyone else can dig it!

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2013


16112 Comments


I've probably heard all this album without realising it during many drunken evenings which ended at indian restaurants

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hahaha that's possible. It's still worth checking out. I just listened to it while watching a big lightning storm sweep across the sky. It was pretty sweet.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2013


16112 Comments


joking aside the stuff i have listened to is pretty impressive i should try some more, oh nice rev pos

joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks dude!

conesmoke
October 30th 2013


5274 Comments


nice review, Ravi Shankar was a genius. RS/

first paragraph "releasing a slew Hindustani"

it should be, releasing a slew OF Hindustani..





joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks! I guess I didn't get all of those little errors out haha.

wacknizzle
October 30th 2013


13602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome dude, Ravi needs moar love round these parts

Digging: Redwood Hill - Collider

joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man I totally agree.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2013


17224 Comments


Awesome seeing this here! Ravi Shankar and Pran Nath are my chill out music.

joshuahuntkc
October 30th 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And it makes for great chill out music. That's a sure thing.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2013


4507 Comments


kc legend

joshuahuntkc
October 31st 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

haha

manosg
October 31st 2013


6506 Comments


I need to check this guy at some point.

Digging: Witchfynde - Give 'em Hell

D41V30N
October 31st 2013


949 Comments


indians smell so bad

conesmoke
October 31st 2013


5274 Comments


mostly..

thelastsignal
October 31st 2013


1500 Comments


Very nice review, dude. I pos'd; I will have to check this out, you definitely sold me on giving it a listen.

Digging: Achilles - Hospice

joshuahuntkc
October 31st 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks!

CosmicPie
October 31st 2013


1078 Comments


Shankar's legendary. I've been meaning to pick up some of his stuff.

joshuahuntkc
October 31st 2013


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

agreed. I would highly recommend checking out this and Chants of India out.



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