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Rise by Anoushka Shankar


  1. Prayer In Passing
  2. Red Sun
  3. Mahadeva
  4. Naked
  5. Solea
  6. Beloved
  7. Sinister Grains
  8. Voices Of The Moon
  9. Ancient Love

Review by Joshua Hajicek:

'Rise', the latest release from Anoushka Shankar, can be summed up in a few words; masterful Asian orchestration. It's a gorgeous seductive listen. This album is a skillful mix of organic Indian and non-Indian instruments with a flawless blend of electronic flare.

Anoushka, previously known for her sitar playing, is now showing us all what she is really capable of: composing. In this album she upholds her legacy, as Ravi Shankar's daughter, while at the same time flaunting her individual personality in every note. In her previous works Anoushka paralleled her father, however, in 'Rise' she begins to find and declare herself as an unique individual. We can only hope that this is the beginning of a new and innovative style of Indian fusion.

Rise flows freely from one track to the next but can be split down the middle with differing styles: one classical and the other modern, electronic/fusion with a twist of jazz. On a more technical note, each track clearly falls within the constraints of a raga, the melodic basis of classical Indian music from which a mood is invoked. In addition, the compositions of Shankar strictly follow the principals of Taal, the science of beat emphasis, which gives Indian music its unique rhythmic feel. There is a clear intent behind each track.

The first half of 'Rise' starts with 'Prayer in Passing', a slow and meditative intro. Track 2, 'Red Sun' kicks off with traditional Indian drums and enthusiastic vocal 'Bol' recitals climaxing into an impressive rhythmic orchestration. The use of drum kit is well integrated and innovative which later splashes into, 'Mahadeva'.

One can not help to notice the contemplative aura surrounding the simplicity of track 4, 'Naked', where Anoushka solo's on sitar and keyboards. While listening to this track you may find yourself daydreaming and drifting off into distant memories. It's peaceful and soothing.

The album seems to take a turn after 'Naked' which gives rise to a more modern feel. 'Solea's' jazzy piano gives ample space for the interlaced sitar and leaves you wanting more. After the lighthearted playfulness of 'Beloved', 'Sinister Grains' brings a welcomed darkness to the album and rounds off the track mix. The harder edge of Anoushka emerges and almost entirely redefines what she is about.

'Voice of the Moon' brings back that traditional Shankar feel her father introduced to the west decades ago. With its highly coordinated musical movements and blend of eastern and western strings, it demands your attention. It's obvious that a lot of work went into this composition.

The last track, 'Ancient Love', has the strong sense of longing for a lost lover until it turns to a darker more enigmatic feel. 'Ancient Love' is very deep and perhaps gives us a glimpse of what to expect from Anoushka's next release.

While this album will not get your feet moving, it will certainly move your soul.

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