- Dark Matter EP

Dark Matter - Hooked from the start...

I slipped on the CD and from the first beat, I have to admit I was hooked. I've written about his previous album and I thought it was a pretty cool attempt at being experimental. The second album shows you an artist who is now in control of his talent and knows how to use it to create unique sounds. Here's a musician who knows his art. Not sure who I'm talking about? It's Anuj Rastogi and the album in question, is Dark Matter.

Bassic Instinct is a hypnotic tune that just set the tone for the album. A very neat bass line sets the tone for a haunting rhythm and tone. I listened to it unfold and I immediately hit replay to hear it all over again. Love it! 'Nuff said?

Militant Flower surprised me. Unexpected turns in beat systems, unusual sounds incorporated into the fabric of the score and just the overall sound catches you off guard. I think the fact that it followed the first track which had a consistent bass line is pretty interesting. Was it a conscious effort? I don't know; I'll have to ask the artist at some point but it certainly makes you consider the thought process in selecting the final line up on any album.

Code Blue is another track that I enjoyed a lot. It has a lounge feel to it but if you listen closely, there are lots of little intricacies involved. The tabla work on this track is absolutely fabulous as is the use of the sarod, played beautifully by Jay Bannerjee (or Dr J as he's listed on the album sleeve). This track reminded me of vintage Talvin Singh and maybe more recently of a collaboration between Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale. And when I say reminded, I mean the mood or vibe of the song. It's definitely one of my favourites on the album.

Darth Veda is interesting. First off, I love the play on the title of the track. It's a dark number and I almost envisioned something dramatic just about to happen as the song unfolds. Shlokas interspersed with Cassius Khan's cool tabla work... I wouldn't rate this as my favourite track but who knows, it might just be the one that appeals to a hardcore audience.

Shadow Crawl is the last track on this album and again, I have to admit that I'm impressed with the use of traditional instruments merged with an international underground sound. For this track, the violin makes an appearance and is used to great effect. Credits for this belong to Sharat Srivastava.

I think it takes a great deal of courage and awareness to try and blend traditional instruments within the context of a international sound. And for that, I truly believe Anuj Rastogi deserves kudos.  For those who are not really tuned in to new age/electronica/underground music, this album may not be something they could like right away or maybe even ever, but if you do find unusual musical constructions and electronica interesting, I think this one's worth checking out. Mr. Rastogi, take a bow!


Savia Rajagopal
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