Thank you, India!
A new hook-up between Times Square Records and India's Saregama label - which now oversees the recordings of EMI's Grammophone Company of India - has given rise to a terrific trio of double-disc sets spotlighting three of India's greatest modern artists: sitar don Ravi Shankar , Bollywood playback queen Asha Bhosle and adventurous fusionist Ananda Shankar . The Ravi Shankar: The Man And His Music retrospective- split into The Radical and The Classicist - serves as a decent entry-level introduction to Shankar's sizable canon, while Asha Bhosle's Love Supreme set brings a new recording of her favourite ghazals together with a collection of her most cherished Bollywood collabos involving her sister Lata Mangeshkar , husband R.D. Burman as well as frequent duet partners Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar . The best of the bunch, however, is Ananda Shankar's A Life In Music, which offers a well-chosen overview of his underappreciated innovations. He was much more than simply the "Jimi Hendrix of the sitar," as he's sometimes called. Crank up Streets Of Calcutta and hold on tight.
Before Milton Nascimento became a household name in Brazil, he was making some crazy cool psych-pop recordings with hometown pals during the late 60s and early 70s under the name Som Imaginario - Imaginary Sound. The earliest and best of their work, which ranges from charming Beatlesesque pop to fuzzed-out Mutantes-style nuttiness and fiendishly funky jamming, can be found on the group's self-titled debut from 1970, just reissued by the Rev-Ola subsidiary of Cherry Red . The digital remastering job is significantly better than some recent Rev-Ola releases (Rogerio Duprat's A Band Tropicalista Do Duprat sounds like it was mastered from an old flexi-disc cut off a box of Cap'n Crunch), which hopefully means an end to the crackly vinyl dubs of the past.
Dialing in psychedelia
One of the great psych bands of the last two decades, Sun Dial appeared in a blaze of glory from the ashes of Modern Art with 1990's fabulously Floydian Other Way Out album, but flash guitarist Gary Ramon and his UK crew never managed to catch on with the public at large, who decided to stick with their My Bloody Valentine and Spaceman 3 records instead. Over the years, Sun Dial's Other Way Out has risen to cult classic status, and finally, Relapse has decided to reissue it as a double-disc set. As a bonus, you get the Other Way In collection of rare demos and outtakes that you'll be thrilled to have once you cross over the Plains Of Nazca. Trust me on this one.