San Kazakgascar: Drought Times EP

Bollywood, something we could probably get into around here, but sadly have yet to do it.  Hey, blame all the music we’re constantly swarmed with, as well as the habit, for some of us at least, of playing too many old school games for no good reason.  There’s only so much in this life one can experience, otherwise you have to wait for the next one.  Dig that thought.  San Kazakgascar is quite unusual in comparison to the usual extreme we get around here, and at times almost a bit ‘lighter’ than we like, but the level of experimentation here is what won us over, in the end, and should with some of you too, at least those of you who like to delve further into music, past “the metal” into things you perhaps never experienced before.  Music under the general concept of ‘Middle Eastern’ has a basic sound.  Go to an Indian buffet, and 95% of the time the soundtrack you hear for ambiance sounds like everything else you’ve ever heard, fulfilling your sitar needs as you consume that rice pudding stuff.  The Middle Eastern sound is, by nature of traditional structures, experimental in its roots.  More atmospheric than folk from most countries, there’s a sound to it that’s instantly recognizable to anyone and which seems to always have more of an otherworldly effusion regardless of how typical it is.  So, taking that and trying to experiment further so the listener can find something unique other than foreignness is a task in itself.  Drought Times in many ways succeeds in this regard, though it’s probably too short to give a full picture of what the band itself is capable, if they are.





Still wondering why we mentioned Bollywood earlier?  Well, that’s easy to explain.  Drought Times is like the soundtrack to Bollywood film noir filmed by hashshashins who are too high to murder.  As soon as it begins, you immediately are captured by the “middle easternness” of it, the tone, the mood, the instruments, you could know practically nothing about the Middle East and yet still feel as though this came from somewhere over there without knowing a single country.  Probably any ‘Murican‘ that picked this up could at least give you that.  It easily defines itself for the listener with traditional instruments and patterns.  The tabla, sitar, perhaps a pungi, and whatever else we can look up on the internet at the moment to make it seem like we know what we’re saying.  The chord work via guitars sounds clearly as it should, but the general style here reaches into the psychedelic, with hints of trance via traditional arrangements.  The lyrics are delivered in what could be defined as a classical Indian sound, but yet in English, though sometimes he’s difficult to understand.


What works for Drought Times is it takes what is traditional sound and builds with it, experimenting to do something new that is yet still accessible.  It’s easy to find the trance-like groove of these tracks, and practically anyone could enter “the zone” via these guys, who have designed their basic idea, and name, around a fake nation.  The coordination between modern and traditional is well done, for the most part, but its one and only fault is that it lacks true progression past what is going to sound like “the same old Indian restaurant something” to most listeners, even with a few spins.  The folk drive of the strumming, the pulse of the lyrics, it all progresses well, but really if you were to remove the vocals, the majority of it would sound like something you’d completely ignore as you gorged yourself on an Indian buffet, perhaps only finding it more interesting when you hit the can after the spiced spinach sets in.  So it progresses, but in many ways it’s not progressive.  Simply put, it’s easy to forget it.  However, there is art to be found here, and we can’t fully judge San Kazakgascar without more material, since Drought Times is a four-track EP.  You get enough of the band to form a general opinion, but seeing them going the distance will be critical for future success.  This could easily bend a hippie backwards, but we want to see more.


San Kazakgascar Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

San Kazakgascar: Drought Times EP
Lather Records
3.5 / 5