It's easy to take Talvin Singh the musician for granted. So busy has the DJ and producer been, spearheading the controversial Asian Underground movement of South Asian DJs and beat specialists in London, arranging strings for pals like Björk and winning the Mercury Prize for his genre-spanning, globe-trotting disc OK, that it's possible to forget he's one of the best young tabla players on the planet.
Maybe he's realized, too. Singh's currently touring the planet solo, with a set of tablas filling in for his usual cargo of record boxes. It's a welcome change, but in typical Singh fashion, it won't last for long. While other performers like State of Bengal continue to reject the Asian Underground tag as a restrictive, media-generated pigeonhole, Singh is defiantly reclaiming it. The second volume of his wildly popular Anokha series will be released in February, featuring tracks from the UK, Japan, America and India. A full-sound-system tour will follow. A proper follow-up for OK is also in the works, much of the new material having been written and recorded in India.
Until then, though, Singh's beats are of the live, not sampled, kind. His rescheduled appearance at the Phoenix Wednesday (December 6) will feature the musician playing classical compositions in front of mixed visuals and Bollywood clips. Enjoy it while you can.