• “Morning Side” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to UnasMusicas.
“Classic Alternative Dance from England”
The track abides on his album “Morning/Evening”, issued in July 2015, and, in the classic traditions of the Indian rāga, identifies with a daytime period whilst at the same time gently persuades you to ignore the clock and become immersed in the moment.
It’s an other-worldly piece which deliciously melds the 4 to the floor techno beat with 80s Bollywood, luscious strings, and graceful swells of electronica, including what can only be described as a slightly disconcerting Microsoft-esque tonal welcome / shut down pulse which comes throbbing in and out of your speakers at various points.
Louis Pattison spoke to Kieran Hebden for the Guardian back in July, revealing the song’s fascinating back story:
Hebden is half-Indian on his mother’s side and for the first time, he says, his music finds him considering his roots. The influences that underpin Morning/Evening come from a collection of movie soundtracks and devotional music owned by his late grandfather. A young Hebden inherited the records when he died. “I put them all away on a shelf,” he says. “I don’t think I even listened to them.”
In 2013, while Hebden was making the album Beautiful Rewind, his grandma passed away. “It felt like that connection to my Indian family started to fade,” he says. So he dug out his grandfather’s records and found himself obsessed. “I think I never got round to hearing the Indian music that really appealed to me. I heard a lot of bhangra records, or those Bollywood records for the obscure funk tracks. But the blissed-out cosmic stuff – it’s ooh, like, that’s for me.” He particularly latched on to Mangeshkar, known as “the Nightingale of India”. He began toying with her voice, sampling and manipulating it so it advances and recedes like waves lapping on a beach. “Suddenly it came to me: I see an album in this.” He worked on it for months, little sections at a time, until he was content. “I wanted it to have this undercurrent of techno, and the loudest drums, the hardest groove to come in in the last four minutes. It ends it in the club, because that’s my world now.”
At one point, he tells me how he used to make chappatis with his grandmother. “She made the best ones in my family, and after she died, I realised I can never have one again. But I thought: ‘I made them with her many times, I need to start practising.’ So every few days, me and my daughter make chappatis, again and again.”
And now? “They’re OK. Not perfect. They don’t have the elasticity. But these are the sorts of thoughts we have, as we grow older. My grandmother dying, rediscovering these lost records – and the next thing I know, I’ve made an Indian record.”
He grins: “It’s all connected.”