Shri, a Bombay-based bassist (that never gets any easier to say) is a multi-instrumentalist who brings some of the joyous virtuosity of classical Indian music to the pop stage, while sidekick Badma

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Reading Club Tropicana

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Reading Club Tropicana

The crossover process of Asian music is a slow one but historically inevitable. Here is another opportunity for the wise to clock some future sounds early. Silver-haired Shri, a Bombay-based bassist (that never gets any easier to say) is a multi-instrumentalist who brings some of the joyous virtuosity of classical Indian music to the pop stage, while sidekick Badmarsh tracks him lick for lick from behind the DJ console, with an onslaught of samples, loops and drum’n’bass rhythms, the only ones speedy enough to keep up with the intricate pace of Shri’s fast-foraging improvisations. It’s so relentless, you have to smile – not least on the chattering vocal call-and-respond between Shri and tabla player, Aref Dervesh, or on ‘The Asian Detective’ whose musical plot unravels at breakneck jungle speed. On record ‘The Air I Breathe’, featuring vocalist Tina Grace sounded too much like a play for a much-sought after hit, but live tonight it rises and blooms triumphantly. Verdict rescinded.

It might be unhelpful to brood on the prejudicial indifference which prevents more people from getting into this music but with the voracious demand in music for new rhythms and textures in pop, it can’t be long before resistance melts away.

A word also for rapper JC 001’s awesome, hilarious human beatbox 30-second history of hip-hop, possibly the shortest and sweetest support slot ever.