Monday, June 6, 2011

22Degrees of Beatitude: the New Album by Tarun Nayar

In the 90s, as we caught the first glimpses of the World Wide Web and Digital Culture, we fantasized a “Global Village;” a world made small by the acceleration of communication; a world in which national boundaries and cultural distinctions are made soft and fuzzy by the increasingly rapid exchange of media. We imagined a Global Dance Floor on which the differences between Folk Music and Electronica blurred, and the idea of Asian Beats, or African, or Latin, would be absurd.

22 Degrees of Beatitude by Tarun Nayar reminds us of that vision-- Global Dance Music for Human Beings. Born of East Indian parents in Montreal, Canada, the tabla player and digital programmer is one of the founding members of the World Beats collective, Delhi2Dublin, that has been rocking music festivals with their electro-acoustic fusion of Bhangra and Celtic folk music for over 5 years.

Nayar describes this album as a chronicle of his own development as an artist and musician over the last 10 years. It is personal and private, and tangibly subtler than the driving beats of D2D. Chill trance beats and mystic voices, from unfinished tracks that collected on his hard drive for years, have been polished and complimented with guest performances on sarangi, bansuri, and other “folk” instruments. It is refreshing that although there are elements borrowed from Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist cultures, from India, Turkey, Bhutan, and elsewhere, the album does not become one more example of “Digital Exoticism” appropriating, for example, an Oriental flavor. The music on this album is difficult to pinpoint by geography. It is truly international, trans-cultural, and like music itself belongs to all of humanity.