The Master, in Dub

27 10 2007


Dub Qawwali (Six Degrees Records)

Living in a time of digital storage and instant electronic messaging, there is something pleasant about crate-digging—that seemingly archaic art of unearthing rare sonic gems that have been forgotten, discarded or lost. The people that discovered rare vocal tracks by Pakistani legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan circa 1968-74 must have thought the same. This was a quieter Khan, one fully expressing the softer devotional form of which he would attain worldwide status for. The producers opened the files to a host of remixers, and were so impressed by Gaudi’s initial take that they inquired about an entire album. The London-based producer, who has been tinkering with electronics since the ‘80s, considered it an honor. Unlike much of the Khan fusion material—from Michael Brooks’ two incredible albums and Eddie Vedder’s vocal collaboration to Massive Attack’s stunning trip-hop remix—Gaudi focused on another devotional music sound: reggae, specifically dub. Anyone who would not consider dub religious has not explored Lee Perry’s Black Ark catalog in enough depth. Gaudi pays a headnod to Scratch and others by using vintage equipment like vacuum tubes alongside ProTools, creating a lush orchestral soundscape, with short stabs of piano and bottom-heavy bass. These ten tracks are tasteful and embedded with so many subtle nuances it may take a few listens to flesh out the scenario. That’s all right, however, as Khan’s voice sounds silken, compared to the gruffer, more guttural form that would raise the ears of men like Peter Gabriel in the ‘80s. None of this material supplants the fury of the call-and-response chanting, tablas, handclaps and harmonium that will forever be associated with this master. Dub Qawwali does, however, prove the diversity of this master, who continues to explore new terrain even ten years after his passing. DB




One response

7 05 2009
Syed Arbab Ahmed

He is a pride of Pakistan, i gave tributes to him on youtube, great songs of his which were unknown to the world up till now.

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