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- Bollywood Steel Guitar by Various
9/10 Mike Staff review, 25 October 2012
We had this on in the office yesterday and by the time work was over I’d splashed a hefty wad of my own cash to take one home, so irresistible is this collection. Even as I write this, Chris is saying “I’m so gunna hafta get wun o’these”, Phil is saying “Yup”, and even Kim is enquiring as to how much it costs on CD. The fact is that these Sublime Frequencies compilations, although pricey, are without exception worth listening to, providing hours of entertainment and enlightenment for those with a little cash to splash, and we’re agreed that this is one of their finest yet.
On this particular collection the label have compiled 21 tracks of steel guitar interpretations of classic Bollywood music, recorded between 1962 and 1986, including contributions from such household names as Charanjit Singh and Sunil Ganguly. The quality of the recordings and arrangements is consistently playful and charming and the tones both familiar and exotic as these master guitarists wibble their way expressively through a succession of shuffling, uplifting movie hits with skill and playful charm, accompanied by anything from small rock ensembles to expansive orchestral arrangements.Particularly impressive is the jaw-dropping early double hit of the Kazi Aniruddha’s tropical surf-rocker ‘Aao Twist Karen’ and Van Shipley’s take on the instantly recognisable ‘Jan Pahechan Ho’, but there’s really not a misstep on the entire album. Apparently these steel guitar reworkings of movie classics were essentially the “elevator music of India” in their time but selectively compiled here they capture a nostalgic and very human aesthetic which feels genuinely timeless and magical and worth preserving. I look forward to hours of enjoyment from this.
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