Saturday, August 09, 2008

Planet X

If I mention some kinda expense my wife usually thinks for a few seconds and almost always tries to reason with me, but that night as she walked out the auditorium door and I hollered after her that I want to buy a CD by the performers we just watched, she just raised a hand in consent, much to my surprise. We had gone to attend a jazz concert at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore, arranged by Sandip Chowta, a famous music composer and jazz artiste. He got Virgil Donati to Bangalore, along with Brett Garsed, who plays almost as good as one of the 3G guitarists.

Virgil is this esoteric drummer whose sense of rhythm had the audience in raptures. He paused after a few tracks and probably thought it is better to explain to a Bangalore audience why his drums sounded abstract and offbeat. He played five different samples in increasing order of complexity, explaining how each one of the sample tracks he played were in 16 beats but broken into triplets and quintuplets. Brett accompanied him with a riff on the guitar, which made it easy for us to hold on to the actual rhythm and also realize how Virgil's drums always stayed within the strict 16 beats that he started off with. He started from half beats and often at various points from within two beats and by the time he finished, we were all on our feet asking for more.

I love Dave Mathews band (songs like Where are you going, Grace is Gone, Bartender, etc.) and the drumming there is quite interesting too, but it follows a particular rhythm that a even a novice can understand. Even if it starts at half beats, it is steadily like that for you to be able to headbang with. This, however, was nothing I had ever heard.

Bought one of the many CDs on display, Planet X. They had played some of the tracks live too. This music makes you want to drive fast and also increases your aggressiveness. Thankfully the roads that night were absolutely deserted after the concert and I hadn't the chance to indulge in some foolish road rage.

I took it out of my car stereo and put back John Maclaughlin's Live in Tokyo. The old jeep cannot take any abuse. Planet X is for my next round of psychedelia, to be enjoyed in the confines of my house, with other biker friends.

Watch Virgil here:

Read about their kind of music here:

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