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Music Review

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Artist: Sudha
Bish Bash Records
RRP: £11.99
Available 01 June 2009

Sudha is a ground breaking percussionist and pioneering personality of British-Asian music. She was the ‘heartbeat’ of electronic band, Faithless for the last 11 years, which enjoyed huge global success. Her success has seen her featured as percussionist on records and tours with huge mainstream artists including Dido and The Spice Girls.

Anti Freeze is Sudha’s first solo-artist album and it demonstrates her lesser-known side of intelligence, talent and that of a productive songwriter and producer. Recorded in the cultural centres of London, Paris and Berlin with an array of collaborators, Anti Freeze is an electronic concept, which explores the concept of ‘defrosting’ whether it is politically, emotionally or spiritually.

‘Feeling Innovation’ is the opener on this album. To be honest I didn’t like it, especially as an opener to a debut album. It is too serious, dark and the monotone vocals really put me off the whole track. This is a really dry and unfelt track.

Luckily the second track ‘Inside Out’ brings it back for Sudha, the vocals, which start off the song, have warmth and depth to them. The whole feel of this track is on a different level to that of the first track. It’s emotional and shows beauty within the lyrics and vocals.

‘Living By Numbers’ is an upbeat track which opens with a good pace beat and Shilpa Shetty asking "How far are you willing to go?" The vocals on this track are sharp and fast which fits in with the beat perfectly. There is also a sample of Lata Mangeshkar running throughout this track that translates as ‘Come into my arms’. The track goes full circle and ends with Shilpa Shetty "How far are you willing to go?"

‘Makes Me Wonder’ is quite a quirky track, the vocals are heavily synthed and the electro is very wappy and high. I like the cowbell sounding percussion in this track as it breaks up the heaviness from all of the other heavily synthesized beats.

The only track on this album to bring some coolness and sophistication is that of ‘Colours’. The piano chords play deep to your heart and put together with the bass, light electro taps and beats they really sit well together. The vocals featured are those of David Sanderson and they are truly magical. He really brings warmth, emotion and depth to this already great track.

I love the backing track throughout ‘Still Walking’; it is the sound of Sudha’s trousers rustling while she walks around Delhi. I think just knowing where she recorded this sample adds feeling to this song. The vocals are warm and this has a positive sound to it, I especially love the backing harmony vocals.

‘Leche’ opens with fast, light percussion which leads onto the beat and vocals that are to begin with light and airy but soon turn more emotional and a little shouty. They fit well with this track though and as the lyrics are saying "I wanna to sing louder than I’ve ever done before…" you can see why the vocals are stronger and louder than previous tracks. I really like the sound of the Asian backing singer too it all mixes really well.

‘Defrost’ is more like an interlude. It’s an experimental track where Sudha recorded all of the samples at her home. Sounds included are rustling paper, dropping CD covers on the floor and gulping water. It’s actually quite a good sounding track and works well. It has a hint of melancholy with the hand clapping and melody that is used.

‘Golden Light’ features, once again, the vocals of David Sanderson and this track opens with his light, yet emotional, vocals. They are very distinctive and reminded me of George Michael. He has that soft, yet strong, sound to his vocals. This track is definitely a great finale to the album; it’s full of energy and emotion.

Throughout this whole album Sudha weaves her Asian roots into the melodies and this is what makes it stand out. Combining it with the sound of old skool electro it has a real modern take on it.


Helena Rea

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