ROBERT MILES and TRILOK GURTU are two of modern music’s true pioneers, both confounding convention, erasing boundaries and defying easy categorization. Any collaboration between these two would naturally be newsworthy but what has emerged is little short of revolutionary on their new album for Shakti Records, Miles_Gurtu. Once again setting the standard for others to follow, Miles and Gurtu render the potential of man-machine interplay on a deeply intuitive and profoundly musical new level.
Italian-born Robert Miles’ ground-breaking single “Children” invented the new sub-genre dream-house, simultaneously topping the charts in 18 countries and opened the door for European chill-out as it is known today. Less well-known is his history as the radio mogul who brought Stockhausen to the Milanese club crowd, his restless pan-global collaborations with Bill Laswell and Nitin Sawnhey, his legal fights for basic artistic freedoms and his burgeoning career in edgy electro-noir Hollywood soundtracks. As might be expected of a man who’s sold more than 14 million records he’s lifted a few awards himself along the way including a Brit award and a World Music Award for Best-International Newcomer, but what really drives him is his unquenchable love of music and an equally ferocious desire for artistic expression and integrity.
The ‘black sheep’ of a famous family of Indian classical musicians, maverick Trilok Gurtu embodies the world of virtuosic Indo-jazz fusion and is godfather to the UK’s dynamic Asian music scene, lauded and remixed by artists such as Talvin Singh, Asian Dub Foundation and Fun’Da’Mental. Nominated for a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for his Indo-African explorations African Fantasy and The Beat Of Love his peerless musicianship has carried off Jazz-bible Downbeat’s Best Percussionist Award five times in the last eight years. His hybrid East-West electro-acoustic drum and percussion set up brings his roadies headaches and the rest of us stunned enjoyment.
While there are some precedents for Miles_Gurtu’s combination of live playing and transformative technology; the avant-garde cyberjazz of DJ Spooky, the visceral experiments of Warp Records’ Squarepusher or the real time virtuosity of live King Crimson for example, none of these projects has quite the depth, breadth, attention to detail and sheer vibe that is so abundant in Miles_Gurtu.
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