Kartick & Gotam
Business Class Refugees (EarthSync ES0030, 2009)
This album’s title was inspired by circumstances that caused Kartick (Patrick Sebag) and Gotam (Yotam Agam) to be stranded indefinitely at Singapore Airport as they waited out the red tape for special visas to travel to Aceh, Indonesia. Since the pair was in Asia to record indigenous music at various locales, they bided their time at the airport in just such a manner.
Business Class Refugees is not the result of only that adventure, but of Kartick and Gotam’s way with mixing things up through their skills as producers/programmers/sound designers. Blending traditional sounds with electronica is nothing new, though these guys do it better (and with more restraint in the techno department) than a lot of their peers.
The addition of a good many real instruments including drum set, bass, violin, horns, sitar, santoor, flute and tabla goes a long way toward achieving the duo’s balance of organic and switched-on. While the sounds of India are the disc’s jumping off point, additional recording in Israel and “the rest of the world” (to quote the liner notes) bring a range of textures and tempos that mainly aim for the dance floor and pause for a few meditative asides along the way.
Varied if infrequent vocals add mystique and help keep things earthy in spite of the potential indulgence that cheeky titles like “Tamil Bossa,” “Supreme Chaos” and “Hear Comes the Funk” might signal. Kartick and Gotam’s explorations have served them well, helping to create music that’s genuinely engaging in the face of being ultra-modern.