Having taken three years to complete, it is no surprise that Niraj Chag's debut album is a contemplative and accomplished journey of sound.
Along the Dusty Road evokes a cinematically scoped composition and in fact evolved as a side project alongside the niche Niraj has carved composing scores for TV, film and theatre.
In the album-titled opening track, electronica, tabla and deep bass fuse with the spoken lyrics 'she drank from the sun!she understands the whispering of the trees'. Haunting and evocative, it sets the scene for the 45 minute dream-sequence that follows.
In "Khwaab" (Dream), Swati Natekar's vocals soar over hypnotic rhythms and piano. A Hindi poem about the highs and lows of life's journey, "Khwaab" stands out as the album's most beautiful track.
For the most part, Along the Dusty Road is as meandering as the title suggests, though the sound of Kathak is introduced to "Kanya" while "Ghar"'s uneasy electronica wanders an ever so slightly darker path.
Religious Qawwali collides with spluttering electronics in "Allah Hoo" and it is here, with a more obvious culture clash, that we hear Niraj in exciting, relatively unchartered territory.
Emerging from London's late-1990s 'Asian Underground' Chag's Along the Dusty Road recalls Nitin Sawhney in his Beyond Skin and Prophesy heyday. The album travels a familiar road along which the gentlest sounds are layered and woven, creating a rich peaceful refrain that'll be welcomed by all fans of Chill with open arms. --Rahul Verma
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...a rich peaceful refrain that ll be welcomed by all fans of Chill with open arms. --BBC Music
Independently released music has never sounded so good: this album will doubtless be a highlight on anyones cd or mp3 player this year 4/5 --Songlines Magazine
Along The Dusty Road is truly an undeniable, unrelenting triumph 5/5 --Eastern Eye