Friday, January 24, 2014

CD Review: Nistha Raj's 'Exit 1'

Nistha Raj
Exit 1

A distinguished performer of Hindustani Classical and Western Classical violin in the Washington, DC-area, by way of Texas, Nistha Raj connects with her Indian roots, but includes a twist: vocal beatboxing, upright bass, piano, and drums. The edgy, innovative, and clearly awe-inspiring tunes are Indian fusion at its best. There is a jazzy feel with the bass, piano, and violin, but the Indian connection is channeled through raga cycles, tabla, and somewhat rustic, earthy tone of the violin. The somber, "Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai," is an instrumental ballad with organic violin, pensive piano, and light drum accompaniment. In contrast, "The River," embodies the innovative Indian instrumental spirit with punctual violin melodies, rhythmic percussion, and luscious drones. There are upbeat and plaintive moments throughout. However, the South Asian instrumental arrangements are creative and fresh. Nistha knocks this one into another dimension and it definitely 'beats' the competition. ~ Matthew Forss

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