Al Gromer Khan "Far Go" CD
"Far Go" is the newest album by famous German composer, sitar virtuoso and novel writer Al Gromer Khan. Released at March 1st, 2013 through RASA Music, Al's own label, as limited edition of 100 copies. It's packaged in nice digipak (design by Ramona Popa) with beautiful painting by Ghulam Ali Khan, a prolific painter in Mughal Delhi in the first half of the 19th century.
Pristine sitar strings wrapped in hissy clouds open "Jasmin Blossom Day" and hover on the wings of tranquilly drifting aerials. This, rather shorter composition reveals all the sublime beauty of exotically scented soundscapes. Very nice intro!!! "Procession For Vilayat Khan (Study In Raga Gujari Todi)" is a tribute to India's famous sitar player Vilayat Khan. It masterfully bridges expressive, ear-tickling sitar sounds with gorgeously soulful tabla playing, heavenly chants, additional spoken words and background drone blankets. "Gambhira (The Inscrutable)" remains in quieter, mildly percussive terrains with few sharper sitar essences. Female chants along with other voices lead "Procession For Hb". Pensive sitar and deliberate percussions excel as well on the fore, while colored on the background by assorted hissing sounds and sparsely meandering atmozones. "Constantinople (A Deja Vu)" is invaded by distant, static drone, gorgeously divine chants and occasionally emerging warm string-infused fragments. 9-minute, strongly meditative sonic splendor!!! The next piece, "The Nawab Astride ... (Study In Raga Ahir Bhairav)", displayed by the cover image, is merging sitar, tabla (tabla samples by Suman Sarkar), female chants and serene far-off drifts. Hauntingly calm and unique!!! "Urbanicum (Excerpt)" is more droning, quite minimal, with few gently swirling tinkles, while the following cut, "A Strange Kind Of Peace", keeps its meditative backing drone path, expansive, panoramic and immersing, but flavored here and there by some small, soothingly arising motifs. Deep sound contemplation, a journey to tranquilly mesmerizing realms of rare beauty!!! "Black Raga (Study In Raga Malkauns)" dives straightly into mysteriously exotic terrains with intermingling sharp, heavily scented sitar texture and deep sounding tabla expressions. Sinister clouds of voice-like drone ride atop. "Three Kings" are sculpted by serenely sweeping washes, crystalline tinkles, spoken words (by Al's wife Ute) and chants, sporadic calm sitar passage and distant, slowed down heartbeat. Sublimely relieving and exceptionally embracing piece of music!!! "ForÍt Diplomatique" is most likely the shorter version of the track from "ForÍt Diplomatique" CD (released in 2011). Rather monotonous drone with French spoken vocals (again by Ute), infrequent sitar and remote heartbeat create a quite minimalistic and mysterious feel, exquisitely distinctive, when delicately coalescing ancient with future. Awesome!!! "I Walk Everywhere... (Study In Tantric Jazz)" closes the journey with jazzy, chillout ingredients thrown in. Again a truly unique blend featuring also sitar wizardry and warmly inviting, cinematic uptempos.
"Far Go" is absolutely adventurous ride offering to each listener wealthy palette of atmospheres with filigree instrumentation, where soul, passion and dedication are always exhibited. If you are searching for ambient soundscapes with long lasting oriental fragrance, this is the name you can always bet on. Al Gromer Khan is elite performer and his extensive discography offers a lot of sonic jewels!!! They are not that faraway as you might think...
Richard GŁrtler (Nov 2, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)