The Taal Tantra Experience
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The Taal Tantra Experience

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Despite inspiring a wealth of classic albums over the past few decades, cross-over has always had its fierce critics. Bill Dixon, never a man to shy away from strong opinions, was quick to denounce what he considered a movement towards creative dilution: „That's something one shouldn't do at all. You can't combine anything, really. You can't just create a new language from French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian. What you can do is to allow yourself to be influenced by these different languages to be able to express yourself more clearly in your
own mother tongue.“ Tell that to the members of the Taal Tantra Experience. An Indo-German cultural combustion engine sparked and formed by Tabla-master Tanmoy Bose's spontaneous decision to check out Berlin's scene for Jazz and improvisation on the spur of the
moment, the formation are juxtaposing the West with the East, the spiritual with the physical, the immediate with the carefully meditated and the erruptively rhythmical with the sensually harmonic.

On their second full-length, „Sixth Sense“, the five-piece, frequently extended into a more sizable ensemble through the inclusion of a plethora of guest musicians, even more importantly manage to make the result sound entirely seamless and of one piece: After opening tune „Khandam“ has gotten off to a blistering start on the strength of polyrhthmic scat-vocals, Bosey's invigorating jaw harp and a suspenseful groove, Tilmann Dehnhard lays out the main motive, a long and winding, constantly breaking and accelerating entity stretching out over several bars and culminating in a Kletzmer-affiliated sidetheme, which paves the ground for a string of solos, each formulated in a distinctly personal idiom of its own and yet without creating harsh edges or crass contrasts. If there is a single, fundamental philosophy to the record as a whole – which actually seems highly unlikely considering the multitude of moods, styles and modes on display here – it must surely be that underneath regional garments and local dialects, there is a shared plateau on which the exchange of ideas,
thoughts and emotions can take place on an intuitive and wordless level.
The closest Taal Tantra have come to realising this vision is the progressive sonic architecture of „It's been a long way“, an organically stretched-out suite divided into three distinct and separate parts, which nonetheless add up to a cohesive whole. Over the course of its immersive twelve-and-a-half-minutes, this equally explorative, ambitious and immediate work runs the gamut from the Blues and Sound Art to Pop and hypnotic Electronica and back again, incorporating field recordings and a colorful instrumentation of Tablas and Sanfona alongside Percussion, Bass and Guitar. It also sees the musicians playing with concepts of space: While the opening section, in which Kai Brückner's guitar navigates through a maze of atmospheric chords, can be considered representative of the intimate and film-noir mood of a club gig, the trippy middle movement, driven by insistently funky rhythmics and cosmic vocals, appears to be floating through the air far away from earthly limitations. Its form, marked by both fluent and abrupt changes of tempo, ambiance and accents, neither dogmatically adheres to the impro-tradition nor the parameters set by Indian music, creating a new and idiosyncratic framework for expression instead.

While the remaining material is of a decisively more concise and familiar quality, the album as a whole seems to have been conceptualised as a singular journey, with tracks corresponding to each other like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. While the music, on an individual
compositional level, leans towards the integrative rather than the confrontational, the carefully balanced contrasts between tracks create a far more expansive tension arch instead: From the
blissful exultations of „Rikshaws on Rash Bihari“ to the jazzy stillness of „Between the Worlds“ and from the soulful reed-harmonies of „What we need“ to the raw Rock-riffing of „The Cobra“, the album moves forward with both grace and an undeniable pulse, its snapshots adding up to a vivid photo album.

Whether or not the result is truly a new language is of no relevance whatsoever here. Taal Tantra don't treat the cross-over-debate as though it were a hypothetical linguistic metaphor or about a Utopian vision for the future. Instead, they treat cultural integration and cross-border communication as what they really are: An everyday reality, which can be treated either as a threat or an inspiration. For „Sixth Sense“, they have thankfully opted for the latter. - tokafi


Taking two years to produce, this collaboration of German and Indian musicians is well worth the wait. An exhilarating mix of East meets West, Sixth Sense is one of those albums where the cross-fertilisation of cultures works very well indeed. I have always been a bit of a 'world' music fan and this collection of mostly upbeat tracks certainly hits the spot for me. Led by renowned Indian musician Tanmoy Bose on
tablas and vocals - he was the catalyst for this project - there are up to sixteen musicians playing together on this music. It is a rich mix of Indian percussion and traditional instruments and vocals to which are added electric guitars, bass, saxes, flutes and trumpets - provided by the German element. I think one of the best examples of this cross-cultural synergy is the twelve minute long It's Been A Long Way - it continuously weaves the traditional Indian elements with more ambient sections, street recordings, and jazz vibes. It really is the album's showpiece. But that doesn't reduce the rest of the album, there simply is
not a bad track on this album. You can smell the rich spices in the market, hear the chaos of the traffic systems, and feel the overwhelming crush of the subcontinent's huge population. This is a Thomas Cooke package tour to the country from the safety of your armchair. The
remaining tracks are: Khandem, Bhairabi, What We Need, Between The Worlds, Rikshaws
On Rash Bihari, Trip To Kolkata, The Cobra, Puri and Howra Bridge. There are really far too
many musicians to list here but I can say that Tanmoy Bose is more than matched by the assorted Indian and German musicians, and their commitment is tangible throughout this album. I loved Sixth Sense and hope the Taal Tantra Experience will record again, but please don't let it take two years next time... Highly recommended and most definitely one of my albums of 2010 [and any other year, come to that]. - The-borderland.co.uk


Transcendental German-Indian Sound Discourse While economists and social researchers argue about the pros and cons of globalization in the wake of the worldwide financial crisis, in music, the exchange and collaborations among the most diverse world music sounds and
rhythms continue to flower in the most colorful ways. A current example of one such successful cooperation of different music cultures is the Taal Tantra Experience, which started up in 2001 in the German capital when a group of Berlin jazz musicians first met tabla virtuoso Tanmoy Bose. With Tanmoy Bose, who is touring the world with the greats of
classical Indian music Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan and who participated on two Grammy winning recordings „Concert for George“ (Eric Clapton) and „Full Circle“, the project really got going, first in Berlin and then on the Indian subcontinent.
Tanmoy Bose, who was impressed by the skills and musical curiosity of the four Berlin jazz musicians, invited them to take part in an Indian concert tour in the spring of 2003, which ended up in founding the The Taal Tantra Experience. The band, consisting of percussionist
Andreas Weiser (Shank, Xiame, Degas/Weiser „Heimat“), guitarist Kai Brückner (Lisa Bassenge, Jocelyn B. Smith), bassist Max Hughes (Tino Gonzales, Kenny Martin), saxofonist/flutist Tilman Dehnhard (Nils Wülker, Sam Rivers) and Tanmoy Bose, produced their first CD in the same year, which however, was only released in India. Taal Tantra means roughly „Meditation on Rhythm". Influenced by the meditative power of ragas and their scale-oriented melody phrasing, and the complex rhythms of the Indian taals, the ten tracks on the new album „Sixth Sense“ produced by Andreas Weiser exude nothing less than hypnotic sensuality. Interacting with western jazz harmonics and sound and ambient-based production philosophy, a trans-continental sound emerged in which each element of style harmonizes equally with the others. Recorded in a production process lasting about two years in Berlin and Calcutta, the quintett sees its current work as a permanently developing experiment of cultural west-east collaboration. A collaboration which feeds on musical contrasts and always leads to new, trendsetting results in the end. An enthralling and extremely audiolicious process. The energetic and energy-laden songs from the Taal Tantra Experience rev up both body and mind. The colorful sonority is amplified by Indian slide guitarist Battacharia (Shakti) and Bengalese "Baul" singer Basu Deb, who lend the European coating of 'Sixth Sense' an additional traditional Indian note. - Soulseduction.com


Discography

Sixth Sense (Ozella Music Germany)
Taal Tantra (Times Music India)

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Bio

The Music

Taal Tantra means roughly „Meditation on Rhythm”. Influenced by the meditative power of ragas and their scale-oriented melody phrasing, and the complex rhythms of the Indian taals, the music of The Taal Tantra Experience exude nothing less than hypnotic sensuality.

Interacting with western jazz harmonics and sound and ambient-based production philosophy, a trans-continental sound emerged in which each element of style harmonizes equally with the others. The individual solos by the master musicians create an ambience of surprise and ultimate listening pleasures. The vibration of gongs, chimes, ocean drums, thunder drums weave a design of divine atmosphere. In one word, The TAAL TANTRA EXPERIENCE is the perfect definition for contemporary sounds and music.

The constant urge to develop new directions and create global sounds through music has made this project dear to many ardent music lovers through out the world. In Tanmoy’s own words, “TAAL TANTRA for me is the medium to experiment and express our understanding of new ideas and sounds.” Some of the best known musicians have collaborated with this project.

The Story

Pandit Ravi Shankar had already departed to his Hotel after a successful concert at Museums Island Berlin, when Tanmoy Bose, one of Ravi Shankar‘s tabla players, decided to stay and check out the local Berlinclub scene. Destiny took its course and Tonmoy Bose met and jammed with four exceptional musicians who are all deeply rooted in Berlin‘s jazz scene. Five months later, the four Berliners were invited to India to play a five-week tour with Tanmoys Taal Tantra.

Taal Tantra is a very ambitious project which uniquely combines classical/ traditional Indian music with European jazz. Due to the success of this project, two greatly received follow-up tours in India have taken place and in the meantime a very close friendship between the tabla virtuoso and the Berliners has evolved.

Album Sixth Sense Release in Europe (Oct 2010, Ozella Music)

The Taal Tantra Experience are:
• Tanmoy Bose (tablas, vocals)
• Andreas Weiser (percussion, vocals)
• Kai Brückner (guitar)
• Bernhard Ullrich (saxophone)
• Max Hughes (bass)

special guests:
• Debashish Bhattacharya
• Baul Singers from Bengal
• Martin Klingeberger (Trumpet & Vocals) -

The Muscians

Tanmoy Bose
is one of the finest tabla players in the world of Indian Classical Music. His long association with some ot the greatest names in Indian Music has given him a firm and definite standing as a performing musician. He has toured extensively with USTAD AMJAD ALI KHAN and PANDIT RAVI SHANKAR, but also with great musicians of western pop music such as George Harrison and Sting, and collaborates intensively with Ravi Shankar‘s daughter, Anoushka Shankar. He has been a participating musician in two of PANDIT RAVI SHANKAR’s Grammy winning projects - “Live at Carnegie” and “Concerts for George”. His creativity has left his mark in WORLD MUSIC project TAAL TANTRA. His role as a music director for ballets and feature film has earned him praise.
www.tanmoybose.com

Andreas Weiser
Musician and composer from Berlin. Has worked as a composer for radio, television and feature fi lms. and is a percussionist in various international jazz- and world music bands. Recordings and performances with Elefanten, Xiame, Materia,Shank,Taal Tantra, Berlin Big Band, Jorge Degas, Jazzanova, Tanmoy Bose, Subhankar Banerjiee, Bocato, Mia, Dona Zefi nha, Jesse Millener....
www.weiserarts.com

Kai Brückner
guitar player and composer- studies at the Hochschule der Künste in New York instruction under John Abercrombie, Mike Stern and Wayne Krantz, among others. International Jazz Workshop in Banff, Canada (Kenny Werner, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas among others). Compositions for film music. Tours in the US and Canada with drummer Jerry Granelli, in Germany and Europe and in India with tabla player Tanmoy Bose. Goethe Institute Tour to Africa with Yakou Tribe.
www.kaibrueckner.de/

Max Hughes
- bass - studies of classical and modern music - advanced studies with Oscar Stagnaro, Paul Amrod, Whit Browne, dem Komponisten John Bavicchi, Jimmy Cheatham, Hal Crook, and legendary Oscar Sala.
Active Freelancing and Studio work in Europe, Latin-America and the U.S.A. with/for among others: Alcatel, Friedrichstadt Palast Berlin, BMW, KPMG, Marleaux Guitars, New York Broadway Ensemble, Telescope Film, etc. und Künstler/in wie Chaka Khan, Tanmoy Bose, Toni Braxton, John-Paul Bourelly, Ack van Rooyen, Jocelyn B.Smith etc.

Bernhard Ullrich
- saxophone - studied at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New York with such notables as Reggie Workman, Bill Evans, Charles Tolliver, Mike Mossman, Adam Holzman, Ravi Coltrane, Phil Markowitz and Rich Perry. After his studies, he continued to work with numerous New York musicians, including Bobby Sanabria, Adam Rogers, Wayne Krantz, Steve Slagle, Lew Soloff and Ray Baretto. He joined t