Tides, the second LP from hip-hop fusion duo Grand Tapestry, draws its strength from rhythm–not just in the beats it’s built on, but in the push and pull of the sounds that drive it, rooted in contemporary pop and Indian classical music. Four years after their debut, rapper/producer Eligh and sarod player/composer Alam Khan say it was time to take their music to the next level.
“It’s important as artists to keep pushing the boundaries of our respected forms,” they say in a joint statement on the project. “Grand Tapestry aims to go beyond genre into a space of unlabeled creativity and vision.”
To do that, they once again turned to a range of collaborators, including Raaginder on the violin, Kamaljeet Ahluwalia on the santoor, Jay Gandhi on the bansuri, and Colin Brown on the piano. That’s in addition to Khan’s mastery of the sarod–following in the footsteps of his father, the Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, he’s something of a worldwide ambassador for the instrument.
So you can expect virtuosity, and you won’t be disappointed, but Tides also advances the work of Grand Tapestry’s debut with a sharper focus. It’s a shorter, more thoroughly produced track list, scattering sampled sounds of speech, seagulls, and the sea throughout six compositions swimming in atmosphere.
At points, it’s hookier and more beat-forward, leaning harder into pop in the electronic bass and drums of “Seagulls.” On the other end of the spectrum, in the closing “Iman Kalyan (Evening Raga),” it stretches further to the classical side with sarod and piano at center stage. Cycling through each one like the rise and fall of the tide, it’s an album that highlights the best of its component parts, not to mention their shared cosmic potential.