The album Indiamore by French pianist and composer Christophe Chassol is a mix of fusion that quite possibly will appeal to art house jazz fans as well as more mainstream music fans.
All required gimmickry abounds:Artsy, iconographic album cover, a neat global concept far-flung discovery trips to India working out how to find an angleparallel lines converging in AV technology for the trés but not quite ultra-modern, something unspoken but reverberatingly Indoploitation.
...so what about the notes?
The man can play his socks off, obviously. His admiration for Shakti and Ravi Shankar is represented deeply. Snap first impressions do not lead to Shaft, D'Angelo or Blur comparisonssorry Chassol, those tenuous sparks are a stretch too far; but it would be cool to hear how they might develop live into fuller ideas, and it's without doubt that Damon Albarn would be all over this sound.
There are a tidy 22 tunes on the Indiamore album, 8 of which go over 3 minutes in length. The love India amuse-bouches and sound bites (segues, interludes and reprieves is all they are y'all) stand up to their shortness, the vocalplay/ease is interesting, fun in places, and it lightens the theologico-ethno exchangelet's all mold God together folks, the essence is not in today it won't hit you (wouldn't that be great).
The melodiesmany are sublime, added to the Frenchness which does not lose its chic or sexy; no bringing it back, it never went awaythose are the threads that maintain peak; those and the Reich injection; this is not elevator music. The production, whether it's the folk memory of Stevie Wonder, old kit or innate spirit, is heart-warming, but sometimes lost in the fiddling with novelty ideas and tampersome experimentation. Meaning, not sonic fragments turning discourse into gibberish, transcends a one hit wonder beyond first flush.
Chassol can survive rigorous interrogation, at his core, he is a versatile, virtuoso musician exploring the outer limits, in a similar way to how Herbie Hancock checked out newness at the dawn of the synthesizer, but this is not Chassol's homage album to Headhuntershe could probably go there next.
Chassol appears to be unraveling some complex ideas and wants people to listen and understand beautiful sound as it stands unrelated to prescribed expectations. Whether the use of language splicing, outer-galactic tea breaks, uncomfortable video clips and the odd dis-jointed key signature helps this aim is debatable. The gimmicks are cool, but listen to the longer tracks to hear Chassol as musician rather than technician.
It's not jazz yet but it's almost as attractive, let it grow on you.
Two Lines; Little Krishna & The Girls; Dosidomifa (Part I); Dosidomifa
(Part II); Ultratheka No1 (Part I); Ultratheka No1 (Part II); XIXth
Century; TunTun; “Din A Din”; Haré Rama, Haré Krishna; Fiddler In The
Street; Drumachine; Ultratheka No2; Ganga; River Song; Our Father;
Music Is God My Love; Odissi (Part I-Making Up); Odissi (Part II –
Émotif); Odissi (Part III-Farewell); Showing My Friends; Générique.