Shankar & Gingger - "Celestial Body"
(Mondo Melodia/Universal 2004, ARKLP00010)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: July 2004
Apparently I should know who these people are? Their bio states that they are Grammy nominated, world renowned composers etc, ones who have worked with all the top stars such as Elton ‘Hair Piece’ John, Phil ‘Not Fucking Genesis’ Collins, and not forgetting Van ‘S.H.I.T.E’ Morrison, and Peter ‘Innovator’ Gabriel, to name but a few of these heavy weights, and in fact the only name that I find of interest in the vast array of namedropping is Frank ‘Moustache’ Zappa. But as I do not know them from Adam, and I have surmised that this CD should be testament to these statements that litter the bio, and that it should be nothing more than a fantastic CD?
As I listen I find the music enchanting and quite hypnotic, and I can see why Shanker & Gingger have worked over the years on film scores. Their collaborations on Celestial Body are of that atmospheric soundtrack vein and they flow gracefully over energetic orchestration, and also as both are violinists and apparently play The Double Violin that spans the entire range of the orchestras double bass, cello, viola, and violin, of which these are the only two in the world. And listening to this range of sound I find that it is an incredible instrument, and that a friend of mine, who is a would be fiddler, would be more than interested to own one of these things.
Also stated in the bio, Shanker & Gingger undertake produce film score projects, of which their most recent project was Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. So if you have seen the film I’m guessing that it is similar atmospheric instrumental/vocal soundscapes to Celestial Body. This is just a guess, as I have not seen the film, and I am just giving an insight into the fields in which they tread.
Sadly I have no track list or cover for this CD so I am working in the dark on some aspects, and I can only say that it is a 2004 release, and after listening to the first 5 or so tracks I can say that the music is mellow and very relaxing. It is very much in the vein of the soundtrack and it covers the entire range of the Double Violin to the maximum, and most of the CD verges on ethnic vibrations of the eastern world. But sadly a number of the tracks are a bit poor and cheesy. However, the slow non-song sound structures are good, and through these you get the beauty of Ginggers voice, and I am wondering if this is actually her name and not the colour of her hair. And that is of course with no disrespect to Gingger.
The majority of the music is in the orchestral structure mould, collaborating with the harmony singing of both Shanker & Gingger, and I can say that there is a lot of music that seems to delve into the eastern vibe, with the droning and the arabic’ing and the smoking of the calabash pipes while staring blind oft without concern. Within these floating Arabian or whatever cultured scales are being played comes sometimes wailing, in the mantra form, and within the fiddling of extreme quality I find that I like these tracks better than the songs because I am in that kind of mood.
On the whole Shanker (which I was hoping was Ravi) & Gingger were not that bad as they strayed into music that I like to listen to. I thought that the atmospheres that were built throughout were of interesting quality, and that the motions of the pieces were mellow headphone listening. And of the songs I sensed that there was some form of message, and I guess the message is DON’T KILL OUR MOTHER MAN, BECAUSE YOU DON’T GET TWO? LOVE EACH OTHER...
For more information you can visit the Mondo Melodia web site at: http://www.MondoMelodia.com.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard