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V/A – Riyaz Master

V/A - Riyaz Master

CD, Thisco, 2006

This just in from innovative Portuguese label Thisco, a new take on world music – rather than the composers and performers of the world, the equipment of the world. The Riyaz Master is an Indian drum machine specialising in tabla sounds, and curator Sigmoon (who also appears here) has given one each to a bunch of European electronica types to see what comes out.
Openers Negative Stencil & Sylvatica cheekily reference the charm of the subcontinent without descending into Bollywood kitsch, and the chirpy voice at the beginning has been bouncing around my head for a week. Things take a turn for the occidentally ambient after that, until Wild Shores’ vocoded dreams lead us neatly into Mimetic & Data Senses, who to my mind make the standout contribution with their gently stompy filter-thon “Shaping” which brings the tablas to the fore again while remaining tonically in the West.
This CD gives the impression of being very carefully arranged, with the near-segue from “Shaping” into C-drik’s track preserving the tablas but paring the electronica down (initially) to its most minimal. The second half is perhaps more diverse than the first, with Emgine’s cut-up fairy tale (reminiscent of the Sword Volcano Complex) and Dr Dilip & Rico Bass’s ethnic funk rock noise jam sitting comfortably at opposite ends of the scale. TNO too must get an honourable mention for taking the Riyaz Master and bravely (and effectively) trying something Middle Eastern with it, rather than going for the obvious geographic point of reference, and Black Sifichi for the grandiose (if somewhat pretentious) virtual installation which closes the album on a suitably chilled-out note.


— Andrew Clegg

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