It is truly a great time to be alive! This modern age of technology and interconnectedness has allowed people to come together from across the globe and made possible what was previously quite nearly impossible. This may be an overly optimistic and hyperbolic way to introduce a new addition to my record collection, but that’s how I get sometimes.
One of my favorite (if not my all-time favorite) record labels Stones Throw has a little sub-label called Now Again that reissues collections of some of the most amazing World music from just about every corner of the globe in every sub-sub-genre imaginable. They recently teamed up with World Psychedelic Funk Classics to present Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga!, Seminar: Aesthetic Expressions of Psychedelic Funk Music in India 1970-1983. The lengthy but highly descriptive title tells you exactly what you’ll find in this album.
The vinyl version comes as a gatefold 2LP with impressively educational liner notes on the Indian Psych Funk scene’s genesis and progression and an oversized 20-page booklet with additional liner notes form each track. After listening to this album and reading all about this extremely niche culture I feel like I’m practically an expert.
What really sets apart this style of music from its contemporaries is that most of it (presented in this collection at least) was written for Bollywood movie soundtracks. It’s also quite interesting that as Western musicians looked East for inspiration (Sgt. Pepper’s anyone?), Indian musicians took their cues from Western music. There are more than a few accounts of blatant plagiarism that actually sound quite amazing when applied to funky, danceable Indian psych.
So anyway, the point of that overly optimistic intro was that this project was only made possible by the growingly interconnected world in which we find ourselves these days. Before, music such as this would be extremely hard to find, even to those few who were aware of its existence. But thanks to popular demand for the lesser-known treasures of the most obscure international movements, collections such as this abound and tend to include an interesting and inspirational historical account of the people and places that gave birth to these unique forms of expression.