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Spotlights [Issue # 7 ]
Robert Miles And Trilok Gurtu: Musical Synergies


Collaborations are common in the music industry, but rarely are they as interesting as Virgin/Shatki Records’ new disc, Miles_Gurtu. The titular musicians are Trilok Gurtu, the world-renowned Indian Jazz percussionist, and Robert Miles, DJ, producer, pioneer of the Dance sub-genre “Dream House.”

Blending Eastern and Western sounds, Jazz and Electronica, acoustic and electric, Pop and Avant Garde, Miles_Gurtu is all about expanding musical boundaries and challenging listeners to try something different. Very different: imagine Brian Eno, Squarepusher, and David Holmes getting together to play some King Crimson songs, you’ll start to get an idea of what the CD sounds like. Miles discussed his collaboration with Gurtu in a recent telephone interview.

“Basically we met in 2000,” said Miles, “when I was starting to produce my Organik album, and I was playing with Nitin Sawhney. He introduced me to Trilok, and I asked him to play on two tracks on my latest Organik album. Then we just decided to do an album together”.

Miles was quick to point out how well he and Gurtu got along in the studio. “Even though we come from very different backgrounds,” he said, “we love to experiment. And he was really keen on doing more kind of electronic stuff, and we just started from there, we became friends and just started working together.”

“We do very different kinds of stuff,” Miles continued, “but since he played on Organik, I could see that he was very keen on being involved in more leftfield electronic music. We are very happy with the album.”
Though Gurtu’s attachment to the project ensures that many jazz listeners will pick up a copy, Miles_Gurtu is a kaleidoscope of musical genres. The tracks veer from glitchy dance rhythms to laid-back jazz sounds and intricate prog-rock structures, but, perhaps surprisingly, the combination works effortlessly. “I think there’s definitely a jazz element in the album,” said Miles, “but it’s not a jazz album. There’s also Electronic and a little bit of World, and many other elements.”

Miles and Gurtu took an unusual path in creating the CD. “Basically, I would say that 90% of the album is just pure jam,” said Miles, “and we just took it from there, editing all the parts and pulling them together. We just started from very few sounds and samples, and Trilok played on top of it, then the bass player, then the keyboard player. And we took all the best pieces and created the album. It’s a different way of working.”

Although the music is distinctive and not exactly mainstream, Miles acknowledged the artists that had inspired the project’s sounds. “I would say that there are many influences,” said Miles. “Each musician that played on the album brought in his own way of playing and his own influences - King Crimson, more electronic-based artists, jazz artists.”

However, Miles stressed the importance of not relying too much on past examples. “It’s good to have your own sound and your own style,” he stated. Miles_Gurtu certainly has style, and a sound all its own.
The duo plans to take the show on the road starting in London in February, but Gurtu will only be able to play some of gigs.


Musical Synergies Robert Miles And Trilok Gurtu Miles_Gurtu

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