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Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler

Dan McClenaghan By

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The compact disc probably won't disappear anytime soon, but the importance of the physical product is on the wane in the music world. Drummer Brian (Shankar) Adler works the "digital download only" mode of operation in his music-making sojourn, with two marvelous, mysterious, free-flowing EP sets, Mysteries of the Deep and Binary.

Brian Shankar Adler
Mysteries Of The Deep
Circavision Productions
2016

Adler is one of those rare percussionists who takes the rhythmic side of sound into a magical realm. Steeped in the tradition of Indian music, Adler's compositions, arrangements and his bands sound modern and of-the-ages at the same time. On Mysteries of the Deep, employing a quintet of guitar, vibes, bass, piano with his drums and ghatam (an Indian clay pot percussion instrument), he creates a timeless dreamscape of music, eerie and tranquil, a cryptic world music offshoot that sounds like the Modern Jazz Quartet meets John Zorn's Dreamers, in Mumbai, employing subtle drones and organic pulses and gorgeous melodic ambiguities, crafting a mesmerizing experience.

Brian Shankar Adler
Binary
Circavision Productions
2016

The tags on the Bandcamp page for this set, Binary, read : "jazz drone improvised music rhythmic singularity textural world music New York." That's a pretty concise review of the proffered sounds. It's pared down in comparison with Mysteries Of The Deep. Binary, is laid down by a piano trio with Adler adding the added timbres of the ghatam, djembe along with computer spicings. The ambient serenity is less pronounced, more surreal, music from another planet, a "hum of the universe," and in this case the universe seems an alternate one. If you thought there was nothing new under our sun (or any other one) in the piano trio game, think again. Odd, edgy, compelling beauty.

Mysteries Of The Deep

Tracks: Mantra; Windy Path; Pulses; Rudram.

Personnel: Santiago Liebson: piano; Rob Jost: bass; Brian (Shankar) Adler: drum set, ghatam; Matt Moran: vibraphone; Jonathan Goldberg: guitar.

Binary

Tracks: Drone; Binary I. Am I A Robot Or Am I An Ape; Binary II. Be!; Binary III. I Am/UR; Binary IV. Or A Zombie.

Personnel: Santiago Liebson: piano; Rob Jost: bass; Brian (Shankar) Adler: drum set, ghatam, djembe, computer.

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