Trilok Gurtu-Arke String Quartet - Arkeology

Promo PM CD 006    ***
Gurtu (tabla, d, perc. fl, v), Carlo Cantini (v, dilruba, recorder, kalimba), Valentino Corvino (v) Sandro Di Paolo (vla) and Sefano Dall’Ora (b, ukelele). Rec. 2006

From his work with the African Divas to house producer Robert Miles, Gurtu has been nothing if not eclectic in the last few years, making a mockery of the Indo-jazz maestro epithet often lazily slapped on him. He can bring a great deal of rhythmic trickery and textural finesse to just about any situation and this meeting with the Arke String quartet is no exception to the rule. It’s not so much what Gurtu plays as what he doesn’t play that impresses here.
Trilok Gurtu-Arke String Quartet - Arkeology
On many tracks he is discreet and understated, supplying the faintest of pulses while the strings swirl around him, the sense of space a key part of the aesthetic of the disc. While the chamber music resonances are clear enough, there is a fascinating composite vocabulary that emerges with many pieces steeped in a Mediterranean, quasi-folkish sound that is both rousingly danceable and emotively lyrical. It’s interesting to think that Gurtu first ventured into similar territory as a member of the group Oregon many decades ago so this setting isn’t entirely new to him. But as with much of his recent work, he brings a discerning touch to the table that shows him to be a musician of great maturity and consummate judgment. And Arke quartet are simpatico partners. A successful, enjoyable meeting of minds and musical worlds.  

Kevin Le Gendre