All India Radio has just released a new album. It’s titled Eternal. But first, for those not yet familiar with the act in question, a bit o’ background.
All India Radio
All India Radio is an Australian electronic band led and founded by Martin Kennedy. Kennedy is the former guitarist/bassist for the Melbourne band Pray TV. The act itself is a partially studio-based project and partially live band.
On the band website, he states his favorite music includes “Pink Floyd, old school ambient music, 1980s 4AD artists, instrumental hip hop, shoegaze, electronic music in the vein of Tangerine Dream, Jarre, Vangelis, 1980s American punk, [and] Midnight Oil.”
The band roster has also included such music artists as Michael Evans-Barker, Leona Prue, Kaz Sieger, Ben Sims, and Mark Wendt. Kennedy has also worked with David Bridie (Not Drowning, Waving), Steve Kilbey (The Church), Ed Kuepper (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), and Graham Lee (The Triffids) among others.
All India Radio has released dozens of recordings. Kennedy says: “All India Radio has been my project/band since 1998.” Their premiere platter is 1999’s album The Inevitable.
Kennedy adds his compositions have “been featured in film and TV including CSI: Miami, One Tree Hill, Sicko, Till Human Voices Wake Us, Big Brother Australia, Bondi Rescue, Emmerdale, and Recruits.” Kennedy and Steve Kilbey also created original soundtrack music for the Australian post-apocalypse movie, The Rare Earth. The band was also nominated for an Australian Recording Industry Award (ARIA) Fine Arts Award in 2003.
All India Radio’s signature sound is a mix of music genres including ambient, art rock, electronica, new age, and instrumental, progressive rock (and on this one, slight traces of hip-hop).
The down-tempo material on Eternal was initially inspired by music from the 1970s. It brings to mind such acts as Focus, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd psychedelics.
There’s also a touch of DJ Shadow. Some say it slots in somewhere between Boards of Canada and Radiohead with “Lynch-esque aesthetics” inserted for good measure. On this particular album, Kennedy is backed by Josh Roydhouse (piano), Cyrus Ashrafi (santoor), G. Lampa and Smokeface (drums), and DJ Flipflop (scratching).
Track by track
The 11-track album opens on “The Hidden One.” Initially, this piece might think of any of the above-mentioned inspirations. More indie-minded readers might even think Jack Spann or even Bubblegum Orchestra. Regardless of what you think you hear, it’s just a sample of what’s to come.
The second selection is “Moviestar.” It has an accompanying music video and deservedly so. It is an individualistic instrumental with interesting sound bites in place of actual vocal tracks.
Next is “The Edge Of Infinity.” By now the band’s signature sound and a major theme of this CD should be clear.
“Immortality Part II” confuses me in its placement on the playlist but why quibble? The piece has its own identity and yet still works as part of the overall artistic exploration prevalent on the album. “The Shining Darkness” is another distinct audio offering. This one is free of sound bites as well.
“Villa Of The Mysteries” is a fun cut. It walks the razor’s edge between busy and intricately interesting.
“The Language Of Triangles” is yet another Floyd-esque effort. This cut, however, has elements of Yello as well.
“Prismatism” follows here. The track is moody and somehow mysterious with an almost international seasoning of sound thrown in for good measure. “Balance” is but a tuneful tease that leads into “End Game.”
Why “End Game” is not the closing cut distracts me. The track is nevertheless an evident indicator that our aural adventure is nearing an end. Or is it? In some ways, it feels like it’s just beginning.
Could that be why the album endnote is “Immortality Part I”? Or is this simply the result of having to convert a larger album into two separate works? (Yes, a new disc will be dropping perhaps even as you read this or shortly thereafter at any rate.) Whatever the case, listeners are treated to one final serving of All India Radio’s latest disc.
Overall, the album is a nigh beautiful, spacey, sci-fi textured tuneful tapestry that is as much about inner space as it is about outer space. The work is a gentle near-masterpiece. So check out Eternal and let All India Radio take you to “The Edge Of Infinity.”