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Nitin Sawhney - London Undersound Instrumentals and Remixes

Nitin Sawhney, London Undersound Instrumentals and Remixes

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

NITIN Sawhney is such a richly talented songwriter and musician that it’s little wonder he’s decided to release a new version of his latest album, London Undersound, in a mostly instrumental version.

In that way, he can showcase the intricate layering that helps to make his songs such a richly rewarding listen. It’s also tribute to the overall quality, that they stand up in their own right as instrumentals.

There are remixes as well… from the likes of Witty Bod, Bob Holyrod and Cotti, as well as vocal performances from Imogen Heap, Tina Grace and Ojos do Brujo.

Of the instrumental highlights, Days of Fire is a beautifully composed alternative version that strips away the pain and anguish contained within Natty’s vocals on the original.

In spite of its deceptively upbeat rhythm, that’s designed to reflect the movement of a train, the sung version recounts Natty’s personal experiences of being caught in the aftermath of the killing of de Menezes.

In instrumental form, you can just let the lush instrumentals wash over you in seductive chill-out fashion.

Likewise, October Daze, which was originally inspired by a drowsy wasp flying around in October… and still can be. Trying imagining its journey. It’s a near-perfect slice of chillout.

The stripped back, acoustic My Soul is also disarmingly beautiful – especially when devoid of Paul McCartney’s lyrics (which found him frustrated at Sawhney’s Wandsworth home on the day that the ex-Beatle was photographed seeing someone in America). It’s romantic and even cinematic in instrumental form.

The breadth of Sawhney’s musical repertoire is exemplified in the jazzy carnival stomp of Distant Dreams, in the Indian flutes, chanting and influence of Shadowland and the African rhythms of Daybreak.

While his ability to melt hearts with disarmingly effective slow-burners such as the piano-laden Ek Jaan is also exemplary. Likewise, the acoustic tenderness of Firmament.

Of the remixes, Imogen Heap’s vocals provide perfectly dreamy accompaniment to the insistent drum ‘n’ bass of Bring It Home (by Safe Blag), while the club mix of Shadowland compliments the African vibe and sitars running throughout without allowing the beats to become too oppressive.

The acoustic version of Distant Dreams, featuring Roxanne Tataei, is also beautiful and a near-perfect slice of chillout – much like the impossibly French version od October Daze, featuring Tina Grace.

And the chill out mix and return of Imogen Heap on final track Bring It Home ensures that this alternative version of London Undersound is an absolute must for Sawhney fans and chillout afficionados alike. It is, like most of this supremely talented artist’s work, exemplary.

Read our review of London Undersound

Download picks: Days of Fire [Instrumental], October Daze [Instrumental], My Soul [Instrumental], Firmament [Instrumental], Distant Dreams [Acoustic Version], Bring It Home [Chill Out Mix], Bring It Home [Safe Blag Mix], Ek Jaan [French Version]

Track listing:

  1. Days Of Fire [instrumental]
  2. October Daze [instrumental]
  3. Bring It Home [instrumental]
  4. My Soul [instrumental]
  5. Distant Dreams [instrumental]
  6. Shadowland [instrumental]
  7. Daybreak [instrumental]
  8. Ek Jaan [instrumental]
  9. Transmission [instrumental]
  10. Last Train To Midnight [instrumental]
  11. Firmament [instrumental]
  12. Charu Keshi Rain [instrumental]
  13. Bring It Home [Safe Blag mix]
  14. Last Train To Midnight [Gloom world mix]
  15. Distant Dreams [Witty Boy mix]
  16. Shadowland [club mix]
  17. Ek Jaan [Cotti mix]
  18. Distant Dreams [acoustic]
  19. October Daze [French version]
  20. Ek Jaan [Bob Holroyd deep blue mix/previously unreleased]
  21. Bring It Home [Radio Chill mix/previously unreleased]