Ashwin Batish...is he for real? The beaming answer from Batish Records is yes. The man who successfully mixes a Yamaha DX9 and Drumulator with a sitar to create a unique Indian Rock is a smash. With such ditties as "Bombay Boogie," "Casbah Shuffle," and, my favorite, "New Delhi Vice," may inspire a chuckle or two, but he is a force to be reckoned with.
He gathered a remarkable list of attention grabbing reviews immediately after the release of his first 7" (which isn't that common. Usually 7" singles somehow end up lost by the wayside). The reason for all that attention is simple.
In a world where music is becoming more and more predictable and similar, Ashwin hit the public with a much needed shot of freshness. He brought a traditional Indian instrument, and its accompanying cultural inflections, into the rock limelight. Oh sure, the Beatles, Daliele Dax, Echo and The Bunnymen, and other - even Government issue for that matter - have used their share of sitar. But Ashwin goes one step further. He carefully mixes his traditional musical heritage with new wave and rock; all the while making the sitar the focus rather than a musical highlight. (Rumor has it that one day during his studies of Indian music, Ashwin walked into a music store in Santa Cruz where he became permanently attached to a Yamaha DX9 and an Emu Drumulator.)
Sitar Power, the album, picks up where the 7" left off with more of this exciting fusion. Plus, we have more to look forward to from Ashwin since his next LP, entitled Sitar Power Album #2, will include fusions of Indian music with Calypso, Jazz, and (something I can't wait to hear) Country! - Bill Stuart.