Paranoise - "ISHQ"
(Paranoise Productions/Ancient Records 2001, CD)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
Paranoise attempt to integrate indigenous eastern music with their own "heavy and hypnotic rock," as they call it. They have taken a broad spectrum of vocals and music and seamlessly integrated them with their own rock instrumentation. The mix works especially well on songs like "Occurrence Currents/ Wedding Song" that blends distorted guitars and heavy drums with an authentic Moroccan wedding chorus. They bridge the two styles by adding their own orientalized drums and violin solos into the songs between vocal sections.
The band's agenda is very political and philosophically motivated. In addition to the indigenous samples, they also incorporate spoken word samples from political/ intellectual activists such as Noam Chomsky and Vandana Shiva. Their mix of ideas, cultures, and popular interests isn't always consistent. The title track "Ishq," for example, incorporates a recitation of Merlin's Druidic incantation ("Ahnaal Nathrak") from the movie Excalibur accompanied by orientalized violins, drums, and pop-like vocals in English. The music doesn't really suffer though. The only element I don't care for is the singing in English. This only appears on a couple of songs, so there is a large amount of eclectic and dense material here.
The end result is a thick mix of world music inspired by new age ideas. Australian didgeridoos, political spoken word, Nepalese folk recitations, Buddhist chant, overtone singing, eastern violins and drums, Moroccan and Afghani folk songs, a Bulgarian choir, and heavy rock guitar and drums are just some of the many elements that come together on this release. Bringing these together is quite an accomplishment. There is little to change here, so this is definitely a CD to look into.
For more information you can visit the Paranoise web site at: http://www.paranoise.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Paranoise Productions/Ancient Records; 555 Asylum Avenue; Studio 402; Hartford, CT 06105.
Reviewed by Anish Bhatia