Like the last Ghazal album I reviewed, this one features Kayhan Kalhor on kemeacheh & Shujaat Husain Khan on sitar & occasional vocals. The tabla player is different, however. This album features three long improvisations, performed not just live in the studio, but in front of a live audience as part of a concert. The shortest piece is fifteen minutes, the longest twenty. Once again, they really knock it out of the park. The music here is, in my opinion, even better than the music on their debut, which I loved. It maintains the same long-form hypnotic effect, the quiet beauty and the intense storminess of their debut, but it seems to meander less. On their debut, you may recall, I said three of the four songs were great and the fourth a bit lackluster; perhaps that’s why this album only has three tracks – or maybe it’s just the reason this album works better for me. An added pleasure of this album is to hear something that you couldn’t hear on their debut, namely the musicians actually talking to each other during the improvisations. You can’t really make out what’s being said, but you can tell they’re giving each other notes about where they’re heading next on the fly. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but at one point, I thought I very clearly heard someone say “Go for it,” a seeming encouragement to introduce a new theme into the piece. It’s possible that they were saying something in one of their native languages, however, and my ear imposed English on to it. Either way, as electrifying and exciting as it was to hear Ghazal improvise live in the studio, hearing them in an actual concert setting is even more so. 4 stars.
tl;dr – live in concert, this Indian/Persian fusion group is even more electrifying and beautiful in their long form improvisations than they are in the studio; a transporting album. 4 stars.