Dreamland has developed a reputation for its bold programming, providing a home for musically inquisitive artists and audiences. On Thursday, Oct. 16, New York-based Tarana and hometown heroes D’Arkestra provide two differing styles of provocative music. Tarana has evolved over the years, always anchored by drummer Ravish Momin; the band now is a duo, with Rick Parker on trombone and synthesizer.
“Tarana started out in 2003 as an acoustic trio consisting of oud, violin and drums,” says Momin. “The initial concept for Tarana was based on reconstructing my childhood musical influences — having grown up in Bombay and Bahrain, I’d absorbed Bollywood songs, Indian folk and classical music, and Arabian street-drum ensembles — with the added distortions and filters of being inspired by jazz, rock and other Western new music over the years. I’ve also been inspired by the AACM’s motto of ‘ancient to the future’ and have always wanted to organically integrate indigenous folk music and world music traditions with modern music and improvisation. As the music developed, I also felt a need to try different combinations of instruments to ‘squeeze’ more out of the compositions, in terms of timbre, tones and musical voicings. I’ve also had saxophone, viola, cello and trumpet featured in the band over the years.”
Momin continues, “Right now, I’m really enjoying the depth of the trombone, especially as it’s filtered through various sound effects. While I’ve continued to call the project Tarana, the instrumental combinations are constantly shifting, while the basic musical premise remains constant.” In concert, he says, Tarana “works off notated melodic ideas as well as basic electronic music sketches to set up basic ‘templates’ for each song. On top of that we layer percussion, textures, sound effects, rhythmic loops, harmonies and ambient sounds in real time in an improvisational manner.”
As for this upcoming show, “I’ve been getting familiar with D’Akrestra over this past couple of weeks,” says Momin. “I was contacted by [leader] Drew Miller and was excited to learn that we’d be sharing a billing with them. I’m diggin’ their music … so far I’ve … heard lots of cool influences, from Parliament, Stereolab and Jaga Jazzist to Beck and beyond.”
Miller told LEO that D’Arkestra’s lineup hasn’t changed recently, except that they have been performing sans trombone: “We have been working on new music! Along with making new music, we’ve been concentrating on the live show and doing more out-of-town shows. This week [early October] we’ve done Indianapolis, Cincinnati, CBGB Festival (NYC) and more shows upstate.”
The most recent album is “Little Voices,” and Miller said “the music is still moving down the trajectory of ‘Little Voices,’ incorporating more vocals into the sound, along with great horn arrangements. Improvisation is still a large part of the music, especially during live shows, but a lot of the songs are very structured. Some are more composed and some follow a more verse-chorus-bridge type of format. For this Dreamland show, we are going to play some D’Arkestra songs as well as fracturing into some smaller groups for some musical surprises!” He’s psyched to be on the bill with Tarana: “They seem like a very adventurous and exciting ensemble!”