Al Gromer Khan "Chakra Noir" CD
"Chakra Noir", the newest album by iconic German instrumentalist, sitarist and composer Al Gromer Khan is out since April 2016 on his Rasa Music label. Again packaged in rather simple, but elegant 4-panel digipak. After deep sonic meditations on "Day Of The Beloved", released at the beginning of 2016, the Maestro shifts his filigree soundsculpting into mesmerizingly illuminating and exceptionally textured transcultural sonic paradise. Enter these nectarous realms now!!!
5-minute "A Simple World With Flowers" reveals with ethereal chants of, I believe Al's wife Ute, supported by laid-back percussive downtempos, serpentine drones and sitar piquancy. A truly ear-tickling potpourri awaits here, which gorgeously interacts with its title. The next composition, "Degrees Of Tenderness", embodies placid, balmily enveloping jazzy influenced patterns with pellucid strings of sitar. Chirping subtleties along with intangible glimpses of bells paint contemplative images, then clandestinely metamorphosing into calmly evanescing monochromatic drone horizons. "Shedding Light" shifts into subtly enigmatic expanses, soothingly nuanced and guarded by elusive choirs, and reinforced by stringed poetic lyricism. The title track, "Chakra Noir", clocks to 5 and a half minutes, actually most of the compositions are hanging around 5 minutes in length. Mysterious zones are permeated by Ute's voice fragments, glistening rumbles, sitar curlicues, titillating chimes and ephemeral choirs. Pristine, crystalline, minimal, yet richly scented. "A Summer Tale" delves into more drifting sceneries counterpointed with translucently tantalizing sitar. Celestial choir-like washes and leisure, jazz-driven tempos sneak in as well. "Adya Shakti", with 3 minutes the shortest piece on "Chakra Noir", immediately attracts with gorgeously poignant acoustic guitar, meticulously embraced by gossamery halcyon zones and pervaded by expressive sitar transiency. Encircling beauty!!! "Tan & Maroon" keeps on evocative path, melting variety of strings like acoustic guitar, sitar, cello or viola..., ranging from enchantingly warm to sinuously weeping, with hypnotically sculpted percussive beats, temporary bell diaphanousness and glancing piano solitudes. Another sonic splendor!!! "Im Nu" blends masterfully assortment of heavenly choirs and voice fragments with intricately helixing undulations and mellowly insistent melodic patterns. Exquisitely ambrosial composition!!! "The Train And The Crow" returns to flamboyantly colored terrains, where thrillingly crafted and distinctively fragranced instrumentation, perfectly evoking an adventurous railway journey, cleverly melts with western-influenced ambient soundscaping. An utterly gorgeous piece, where South Asian perfumes spectacularly bridge with the Wild West magic of abandoned ghost towns. Wow, this was a truly unexpected sonic exploration!!! "Rose Of All My Days", as displayed by its title, remains in calmer, poetic territories, where occasional spicy sitar tapestries coalesce with captivatingly immersing laid-backness and airy cinematic blankets. Eloquent violin announces "The King's Companion", gentle strings emerge as well along with piano glimpses. Scenic passages inconspicuously awake too and commingle with beautifully tearful bowed strings, sensuous sitar embellishments and rattling traceries. Transmuting, cascading, meandering, drifting... "Into Blue", with 6:38 the longest piece on the album, closes this strikingly magnificent ride with euphorically colored texture, which moves surreptitiously through different twists and nuances, always fascinatingly perfumed with sitar, tabla or harmonica passages, and sporadic whispers, no matter if exotic or again with strikingly distinguishing infusion of the Southwestern heat haze. A virtuoso conclusion!!!
61-minute "Chakra Noir" is utterly extraordinary recording by Al Gromer Khan, showcasing on one side his traditional insignias with long lasting perfumes, but this time stirringly amalgamated with strikingly unique and blazingly imaginative arrangements shifting this album into a brand new level, where electro-acoustic brilliance melts with awe-inspiring invention. I believe this is another huge achievement in Al Gromer Khan's stellar musical career that spans five decades. A truly special listening adventure awaits when exploring "Chakra Noir", don't miss it!!!
Richard Gürtler (Aug 07, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)