A little over a month ago, sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee teased us with the single ‘Shanmukhapriya – The Mystic’ and it was just awesome. Thankfully, that was just a taster and the main course has now arrived in the form of the album “Unbounded (Abaad)”. It features a lot of notable musicians from India, the USA and the UK. The seven song album has been released by the UK based online imprint Sufiscore, which has over four million subscribers’ Let’s find out how it is.
“Unbounded (Abaad)” is nothing short of a tour de force of fusion music. Purbayan Chatterjee has assembled an all star cast of performers for this album, featuring artists like Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, kanjira maestro V Selvaganesh, fabled vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, banjo pioneer Béla Fleck, guitarist Pat Metheny, drummer Antonio Sanchez; Snarky Puppy bassist and acclaimed jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen.
“Unbounded Abaad)” builds on the fantastic premise set by the “Shanmukhapriya” single. The album’s sound dwells in the zone of world fusion music. Set on a foundation of Indian Classical tunes, the songs have roots in multiple global genres such as Jazz, Folk, Latin, Country, Sufi, and Western Classical.
The music style and energy levels can vary from meditative, calm and reflective tunes to high energy fusion stomps with musical virtuosity dripping from every single note. Like all great fusion music, a big part of the reason why “Unbounded (Abaad)” works is because the styles fuse together organically and nothing is there for the sake of being there or showing off.
“Unbounded (Abaad)” is a truly fantastic album. The atmosphere sounds familiar but otherworldly, and the compositions are built with glistening tones and rich textures. “Khula Asmaan (Firmament)” is a standout; a euphoric, prog rock-Indian Classical fusion that opens up like a beautiful flower, and blooms gloriously with its multi-hued petals.
Despite featuring such musical virtuosity, “Unbounded (Abaad)” is surprisingly accessible on the first listen and gets even more rewarding on repeat listens. So what are you waiting for? Go start that replay button massacre.
Verdict: Deliciously layered.