Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review of Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan in R2 Magazine Sept/Oct 2013

Here is the full text of Dave Haslam's review:

Agam is the result of a serendipitous encounter in a London record shop between English guitarist Stuart Masters and Indian sarode and rebab player Rishi Ranjan. Masters, who tours regularly with The Fingerstyle Collective, has his musical roots in folk and Celtic music as well as both Western and Eastern classical traditions, the latter working to his advantage when playing with Ranjan who is trained in the classical Indian Maihar school of sarode playing.
Although it only clocks in at a little over thirty minutes, Agam is a varied collection that, through one traditional Moroccan tune ('Reb-Oud-Akech'), three joint compositions and four arrangements of pieces by the respected sarod master Bade Baba Allauddin Khan, explores the common ground between their respective musical traditions.
It's arguably fair to say that not all the material here is equally successful and there's a sense that some pieces are still works in progress. That said, when the musicians do gel they do so with startling results, as can be heard on the lengthy title track where the two traditions, although still discernible, combine to create something special and unique. With nicely judged percussion from Dave Engel and table from Mani Singh, Agam is an album that, while it doesn't quite fulfil its potential, hints at greater things to come.

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