Kartick & Gotam
>Business Class Refugees (EarthSync, 2009)
The back story of EarthSync’s latest offering,Business Class Refugees, centers on Kartick (Patrick Sebag) and Gotam (Yotam Agam) and their three days spent in a stateless limbo at an airport while waiting for travel permits. After scoring some business class seats, the pair sat stranded without passports or papers at Singapore’s airport while they waited for permission to travel into Indonesia’s Aceh province.
Any normal traveler would at wits end after a single day spent milling about the same shops and restaurants of a single airport, but Kartick and Gotam have proved they are anything but ordinary travelers by turning their unplanned sequestering into a music making opportunity. With laptop computers in hand, Kartick and Gotam struck out on a musical journey marooned in the middle of an airport.
Business Class Refugees is indeed a musical roadtrip with plenty of slyly placed diversions along the way. Summoning up a dishy Southern Asian base, sprinkled with electronic, folk and funk, Kartick and Gotam ply the listener with a sleek, global sound that dips and soars with a freshness not often found with studio bound projects.
Typical of an EarthSync production, the bag of musical tricks found on this latest CD lends a depth to the compositions with the inclusion of long horns by the Tashi Lumpo Monastery Monks, flute by Navin Iyer, trombone by Yair Slutzki and Charumathi Raghuraman on violin. Kartick and Gotam cleverly graft their sound to the countless collaborations they encounter along their journeys to make a truly global musical tapestry.
TheBusiness Class Refugees journey begins with "Bonjour," propelled by a rolling rhythms and punctuated by a delicious blend of Nisim Amin on duduk, Navin Iyer on flute, Mahesh Vinayakram and Samira on vocals and the monks of the Tashi Lumpo Monastery. With dashes of loungy electronic, "Tamil Bossa" sparkles with Mahesh Vinayarkram’s plumy vocals against a backdrop of Yair Slutski on trombone, Ziv Rainer on guitar, Mishko M’Ba on bass, K.V. Balakrishnan on tabla and Yoav Bunzel on drums.
Using a traditional tune from Tajikistan, "Boye Boye" features RK Ravi Kumar on sitar, Emil Ismalon on saz and Ariel Alaev on accordion and vocals, along with Mr. Balakrishnan on tabla, Seenu on sarod, Mr. Bunzel on drums, additional vocals by Allo Alaev and keyboard and programming by Mr. Sebag.
Business Class Refugees just gets better with tracks like the darkly mysterious "Heer," that sports some stunning vocals by Zero-G Library and Vijay Venkateshwar on veena and B.V Ragavendra Rao on violin, or the hypnotic blend of guitar, sarangi, sitar, santoor, flute and violin with Mr. Sebag on keyboards and mandolin on "Shiva Sheva" or the exotically dreamy "Door Open Door" with mix of programming, ravanhattha, sitar, sarod, bass and drums.
"Supreme Chaos" is funk heaven with bass, drums, keyboards, programming and talking vocals, while "Ritutu" turns the listener inside out with the flash of Arthur Krasnobaev on trumpet, Mitchell Rosen on saxophone and Yair Slutzki on trombone.
Closing track "Hear Comes the Funk" rides the wave set up by Charumathi Raghuraman on violin and RK Ravi Kumar on sitar with brightly worked lines by Seenu on santoor, Mr. Bunzel on drums, Mr. M’Ba on bass and Mr. Sebag on keyboards and programming.
Business Class Refugees is astonishingly good, but then we’d expect nothing less from EarthSync. Propelling a listener around the world from the comfort of a pair of headphones,Business Class Refugees strikes out on a musical journey that is utterly captivating – even if you’re stuck at the Omaha airport with coach class tickets.
Buy the CD:
- In North America:Business Class Refugees
Author: TJ Nelson
TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.
Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.
Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.