Excavation Series 9 – AIR Tapes 2: Kirana Gharana
Slight leftwards then rightwards, maybe just a hair more, fingertip precision dialing in the radio, moving with it, living with the music spreading its wings across the waves and out of the crispy speakers, you can hear the flow of the day of the explorative capture, finding the sweet spot to override the crackle and buzz, everything otherworldly, building in crescendo and dissolving like rain drops pattering overhead… to return the bull’s eye on that hour spent soaking in the moody melodicism, it’s all quite surreal to think about, the meta-layers at play: the listener, the performers, the device, the open air, the hiss, the real time passing ever so, the recording, the stillness – how much did the listener know deep down – call it insight and intuition, that this would reappear in a new similar form, with the same analogue features, and although the time and place have changed, that time and place remain.
Time has evolved to emulate the scratchy jack, the heartbeat tape spinning apparatus, and full sheets of sound-like washes: it all is here from when it was somewhere else coming back around.
The next tape in our ever-growing Excavation Series is another serious corker.
Here we have a live broadcast taped by Phong Tran while in India in 1997 of an All India Radio hour-long special detailing the beauty and delicate expression of the Kirana Gharana. Where vocal notes are crisp and pronounced and held, and held, and climb the tree to shake the leaves, where minimal background musical themes and motifs hint at more melody but stay shadowed and cool and hyper-focused on pure mood over the cinematic and bombastic show-time virtuosity of other performances or styles, and where the glowing seeds are planted infinitely with every heartfelt push-and-pull.
To hear the voice in perfect tonal hover, shaking away from the repetive sustain that lays the quilted softness first, dancing up a note and teasing where it can go, then taking those extra steps on that textile earthen rug laid perfect, mirrored over sand and water but humming where ragged features brush cleanly flat, tracing back familial vocal lineage and snake, the voice as air as inanimate object holding its own family tree of life, snaking itself through body and reimagination and reincarnation, the mist of loud trajectory holding droplets of tail and tongue, it never disappears truly, it has no fixed ends, yet flows river-like on, bending and weaving and over, to scout new landscape and taut tradition.
released September 1, 2017
Presented by Prof. Ajit Singh Paintal.
All India Radio broadcast taped by Phong Tran c. 1997.
Photograph by Chatasha Tran.
tags: experimental indian classical archive bedroom recordings home dubs lofi outsider private tape collection psychogeographical radio Toronto