Searching For Satyam
South African composer Deepak Ram paints on a multicultural canvas on Searching for Satyam (M.E.L.T. 2000 BW2137; 57:32), a complex work featuring Ram's arsenal of hand-crafted flutes dancing through Indian landscapes with contemporary touches. The effect is challenging, but more accessible than you might think. "Ganesha," for example, with haunted woodwinds diving into acoustic guitar, is a meditative road trip with a warmly western texture. Where "Kalbadevi Road" is part bebop, part modern and part world beat, with its fluttering, whirling explorations layered on funky, swing-out bass, "Danse Pour Kooksie Aux Ben" boasts brassy plucks and frisky guitar work, in a dancing, almost Celtic cadence. Ram's combinations are often daring, as fast-paced Indian pipe and pluck meets modern ambient passages ("Tandav") and glistening guitar webs are spun as Ram's flute offers a distant, powerful call ("Memories of Kiron"). This is mind-opening, spacious composing that offers a unique change of pace for those willing to take the trip.