Rich Mix, London
Reviewed by Seetal Kaur Gahir
The East India Club Night series at Rich Mix kicked-off with an event bursting with sound and colour to launch Englobed, Giuliano Modarelli’s eclectic new album.
Beat-boxing wizard, Jason Singh opened the stage with a fantastical set that created sound sculptures out of thin-air by combining just one SM-58 microphone with a quirky, ballsy attitude and an incredible imagination. Armed with a kalimba, Bernard Schimplesberger then challenged Singh to a free-style percussive battle that flowed through grooves and riffs coming to an impromptu end when the competition grew too intense.
Giuliano then took the stage with talented tabla player, Gurdain Singh Rayatt, and mellowed-down the mood with a beautiful elaboration of Raag Charukeshi. Through creating a platform for contemporary Indian classical music, it’s astounding what one might see. Giuliano’s exploration into mastering the techniques of guitar playing took him on a ten-year journey into Indian classical music - adding depth and authenticity to the multiple styles. This understanding is demonstrated in the raag elaborations made in his album, and that the seemingly ‘inaccessible’ and technical areas of Indian classical melody and rhythm were clearly made enjoyable to all. Gurdain’s calm poise could cause his mastery of the tabla to be underestimated, but his music speaks for itself. The intricate patterns of the compositions were brought out with powerful emphasis and unexpected charismatic flair.
To wrap up the evening, world-folk collective Kefaya got everyone up on their feet soon enough to dance the night away. Psychedelic live art pieces were a fitting backdrop to the churning riffs and rhythms that rolled under soaring violin, keyboard and saxophone solos. Although the full band ensured a loud, live night perhaps the real highlight was when everyone gathered on the floor to listen to Giuliano and his guitar. We found a glimpse into Giulano’s soothing melodies and extraordinary skill, but much more can be heard on his album that is sure to be an exciting release and an intriguing reflection into the multi-faced nature of his music.