Simon Thacker pulls off the impossible by creating a unique hybrid unto itself, Indian music composed with classical structure and with the improvisational depth found in traditional western jazz.
Seldom am I at a loss for words and when I am some consider that a public service so allow me to start at the beginning. I severed ties with two publicists due to scheduling / health concerns as well as an incredibly mediocre level of talent that seemed to take finding it's way to my mailbox on a daily basis. Bottom line...I was bored. I wanted to continue my quest for new sounds and new levels of sonic enlightenment.
I received an email press release from guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker heralding his new release as literally being all things to all people with the primary focus revolving around an improvisational fusion of Indian music with the classical discipline and the improvised music known here in the United States as jazz. The name Jimi Hendrix was invoked, recording technology pioneered by the Beatles was referenced and to be blunt it all sounded a bit too good to be true. From a personal perspective, Indian music has never been in my wheel house be it from a pure harmonic perspective or the over abundance of odd if not occasionally bizarre time signatures that create an incredible sonic disconnect for this critic.
With the back story in place, Simon Thacker is a critics worst nightmare and a dome scratcher for most label executives. This is far more than Thacker attempting to show off his prolific talent as a classical guitarist while doing a riff on Indian music, Thacker performs with the technical proficiency of a highly skilled surgeon while embracing the music with a well developed connectivity that permeates not only the supporting cast here but the release as a whole.
World music gone wild...
While never attempting to burden the reader with an overtly technical review of any release, Rakshasa is perhaps the poster child as to why this rule continues to serve as a wonderful guideline. The theoretical aspects of this release are such that only those that have either studied the music or are perhaps theory majors would get anything out of a description that space prohibits me from providing. Similar artists have attempted to make this transition and most have failed miserably in the attempt. Simon Thacker is a guitar virtuoso that puts on an amazing musical display that should have fans of Indian music, world music and virtually all six string aficionados dropping their jaws in collective amazement at a new hybrid of sound that is fluid, effortless and embraces an often misunderstood culture with passion, grace and fire.
Personnel: Simon Thacker: classical guitar; Japjit Kaur: voice; Jacqueline Shave: violin; Sarvar Sabri: tabla.