Kalyug – Digital Chamatkar (Dada Music)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - June 22, 2007

Very special, in pockets

The second release from India’s Dada Music is every bit as impressive its first – the utterly gorgeous chill album from Sattyananda. Kalyug is Sattyananda’s dancefloor alter-ego, producing progressive music in the ‘old sense of the word’ – more in common with Sugar and Bus than with Beckers, its timeless and wide-eyed vibe lend it a certain nostalgic harmony.


Virtual Matter kicks things off with immersive breaks, gathering acidlines and melodies all over the place, and formulating it into a rising, bubbling bit of pure psychedelia. Electrical Signals reminds me of older Sensient: with that big, elastic bass brooding along while microsounds play around over the top. Altered States brings in a sort of vintage-Sasha/BT sort of vibe. The track works well until the final stage where it seems to over-rely on a melodic hook; frustrating given that elsewhere we’ve already seen that Kalyug works well with a “less is more” approach.


Civil Rights Issue is, barring a couple of superfluous samples, utterly bloody brilliant. It unfolds wonderfully, with breakbeat sections, melodies rising, emotions unfurling… all the while sounding like some sort of Balearic-cum-Anjuna classic in the making. Gorgeous.


It’s Very Important is a little wandering, with a sound that’s a little too aggressive to allow the music to breathe for itself. Luckily Mind Expansion gets the quality back up to scratch, albeit with a handful of – again – quite unnecessary samples: we really don’t want to hear Tim Leary saying “Turn On” any more, do we?


Cosmic Intervention brings in some sounds that remind me of vintage Astral Projection; all executed with that dreamy, proto-progressive music all the way through. Happy Life, at over ten minutes, is a little too long – nothing against long tracks of course, especially when they sound as starry-eyed as this one: but it’s difficult to see what exactly happens here that couldn’t otherwise happen in six minutes. Finally, Open Eyes goes the whole hog, the sort of track that you’ll experience a full six feet above your head, very dizzy stuff. 


Digital Chamatkar has a very special presence to it. Whack it on, turn it up, and get transported. It’s not perfect, and I can’t see it slotting easily into too many DJ sets, but the sheer energy and wide-open YES-ness of this release makes it a very rewarding and worthwhile prospect.

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