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Karsh Kale - Broken English

Released on Six Degrees Records, 3/21/06

With an eclectic mix of sitars, acoustic guitars, and techno beats, Karsh Kale has assembled a rapturous album that defies any attempts to succinctly categorize. Broken English contains 12 tracks that have their own unique personality. The album feels less like a thought out, polished album and more of an organic auditory experience.

Not too surprisingly Kale describes Broken English as follows, "I didn't have to search for anything…it was all right there…I just had to pull away and there it was…" While Kale claims to not have been searching in creating Broken English, the album feels like an epic journey with no real destination. This isn't a bad thing as truly Broken English is more about the journey than the destination. Kale's tracks deftly combine disparate elements from a multitude of musical genres.

The third track on the album, "Beautiful" is a languid love ballad with up-tempo beats and earnest Hindi vocals in the background. "Beautiful" is the kind of track best appreciated with dimmed lights (or candles) and a few stiff cocktails to lower one's inhibitions and catalyze amorous glances.

Following "Beautiful" is the straight up dance track "New Born Star". With a mournful Hindi siren wailing in the background and a mix of hypnotic electronic beats, Kale shows listeners he's much more than a one trick pony.

Several tracks later, Kale again delves into the languid and introspective with "Innocence and Power". A powerful track about the inherent unpredictability of life and the vulnerability all of us feel walking through a life that can sometimes feel dark and foreboding.

Kale wisely mixes up his tracks juxtaposing slower, more lyrically dense tracks with more ethereal, beat driven dance tracks. While the vast majority of the tracks on Broken English are solid, the dance tracks do begin to sound repetitive. Fortunately, the less dance driven tracks provide a welcome variety.

Broken English represents a wonderful effort on Kale's part to amalgamate a myriad of disparate musical genres and most of the time, Kale manages to succeed. If this is what "broken english" sounds like, I'd like to hear some more.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars