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Apr 23, 2014







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Vijay Iyer,
Tirtha Act Music, March 8

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Lots of flowery wordage has been used to describe this Indian pianist/composer’s trip, mainly boiling down to “smart man trying to balance emotion and intellect in a blah blah blah.” The “For Dummies” version would be John McLaughlin with a tabla player, the two sounds that jump out at you despite that Iyer’s piano is command module of this trio. Insolence and tabla aside, though, this isn’t upbeat piffle you’d necessarily hear on WeatherScan — it’s too good for that, and there’s a legitimate darkness often at hand, such as when Iyer’s piano seems to plumb the depths of his own despair at one point in “Falsehood.” And just to backpedal further, there is indeed a deep intellectual focus to it, once you focus past what sounds like the McLaughlinesque noodling of guitarist Prasanna, who furthermore adds, as expected, a lot of sitar emulation (these guys are all knuckleballers; witness Prasanna’s none-too-vague emo-guitar sounds on “Gauntlet”). Not the most immediately accessible sort of brew, more a complex listen for times of complete leisure.

A

—EWS
 






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