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Friday, August 31, 2007

REVIEW M.I.A. - Kala

The first time I listened to Maya Arulpragasam’s (M.I.A’s) sophomore release, Kala, I did not like it. Quite simply, I was bothered by its often disjointed and harsh production sensibilities. It was brash and loud and didn’t fit the neat expectations I had derived from minor internet leaks earlier this year. But a strange thing happened by the third and fourth listens; I was really starting to like it. Repeated listening allowed me to make sense of its true sonic heart. A grower if you will. From the day-glo MS paintbox, fractal cover art to the sampled beats and oblique sounds M.I.A. perfectly weaves disparate materials to craft a fabric that characterizes the frenzied pace of twenty first century global life. A mouthful for certain, but that’s what this record is all about. A travelogue for our times this is what makes Kala entirely unique. That is not to say the hurried pace was part of the recording process. Far from it; Kala was recorded in India, Jamaica, Japan, Australia and Baltimore (her original plan to record in the US with big name producers was thwarted when visa problems kept her out of the country for an extended period), and not surprisingly has a tangible world feel. Go to her Myspace page and part of M.I.A.’s new direction is dubbed “World Town”; In all likelihood stemming from her time spent in Liberia, and partial producer Diplo’s work with the Australian Aboriginal kids for his Heaps Decent project. I’ll leave the Baltimore contingents for you to discover.

Cohesive beyond reproach M.I.A.’s frenzied theme suits her lyrics. As well her distinctive vocalization is in top form; three of the album's standout tracks lay bare her creative intent. Songs like "Bird Flu"
“Jimmy” and "Boyz”, are also the most aggressive and sonically distinct cuts on the album, and best represent both the album's true soul. These tracks, recorded in studios in the heart of India. "Bird Flu" is a melodic barrage of avian squawks, Pixies sampling and a chaotic ensemble of folk drums. “Jimmy” is straight from Bollywood soundtrack territory, albeit with a more energetic rhythm.

On her previous release Arular various press exploited M.I.A. familial ties as the daughter of a Tamil Tiger rebel. That certainly helped with the badass label, but in the end perhaps it rang a little hollow as an attempt to gain notoriety. Kala achieves this same end without the guns and violence. M.I.A. is the real deal.


File under: Badass and Bollywood

Recommended if you like: Bollywood Soundtracks, Dr. Dre, Diplo


Anonymous said...

This one is really hard to like. It just seems too loud and wierd to me. To flavor of the month.


selva said...

Perth.Three hours later we landed at Perth's domestic airport. To be
honest there is not much to see in Perth, but there are still a few
points of interest. Swan bells, Kings park and something for every true
footy fan: Subiaco Oval, the home ground of current AFL champions West
Coast Eagles! Maybe this will better illustrate the importance of footy:
the water police in Fremantle had a LCD display with various information
on it and all that info ended with a simple sentence - "Go Freo!"
(Fremantle Dockers are another footy team from Western in
). This is an appropriate
point to add my contribution to footy frenzy: Go Cats, Go!

Anonymous said...

This is a new cover version / remix song and video "M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)" that has been done by the American (U.S. based) Rapper with Sri Lankan Roots Delon (
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

Ceylon Records - the label handling Rapper Delon has released this controversial video -
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

MIA Paper Planes (Diss by Delon)

Delon speaks about his Cover Version of "Paper Planes"

More from Amerian Rapper Delon who has relatives in Sri Lanka ....Delon promotes peace for the World with his Rap