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Record of the Month: Sarathy Korwar - KALAK

Records of the Month

Record of the Month: Sarathy Korwar - KALAK

A rich and celebratory album focused on South Asian culture. This truly is an ambitious and evocative return from Sarathy Korwar and his collaborators.

One of the most compelling voices in the jazz scene, Sarathy Korwar is a US-born, Indian-raised, London-based drummer, producer, composer and bandleader. His third* studio LP - KALAK - is an extraordinary album, an indefinable new work that is high in spirituality. 

"Flute, horns, synths and tabla accompany Korwar’s undulating percussion in the drummer’s hypnotic fourth album" - The Guardian ★★★★★

📺 "Utopia Is A Colonial Project"

The album is created in collaboration with electronic producer Photay and the sound design is extrasensory; synthesisers that undulate, layered horns that are both mournful and euphoric and all sorts of sonics and field recordings that weave into a dense soundscape. Other guests include Magnus Mehta, Tamar Osborn, Alistair MacSween and the mighty Danalogue.

For all the impressive production (it is, it really is), the drive of Korwar's ever-present percussion is just thrilling. Both his technique and sensibility is truly to be marvelled at.

"Percussionist serves up an Indo-futurist manifesto via sophisticated and intense rhythmic investigations." - Mojo 

Sarathy Korwar - KALAK

Recorded live in less than two days and reconstructed from the improvisations, the performances are virtuosic from everyone involved.

We have special Dinked Edition copies of the album that include a bespoke KALAK rhythm wheel.

Sarathy explains;

The KALAK rhythm wheel has three layers of rhythms with 12 steps in each layer, which all interact with each other. Each layer has a specific symbol X, ●, ▲ and ––.

X, ●, ▲ and all represent different sounds. The –– represents a rest.

The rhythms can be played clockwise or counterclockwise. The rhythms can start from anywhere in the circle, not necessarily only the top (or 12 o’clock).

Each layer can be moved a step (or more) independent of the other layer, giving you near-infinite ways to inspire rhythmic ideas.


The final part of the KALAK project is realised in the cover artwork by New Delhi-based designer Sijya Gupta. Korwar and photographer friend Fabrice Bourgelle took a light sculpture of the KALAK symbol on a road trip around Southern India, through Chennai, Pondicherry and Auroville. The evocative shots appear on the cover of the various formats, with each one offering a different angle on the country, continent and culture that inspired the album.

A really beautiful album and a wonderfully distinctive listening experience.

* This is all on the assumption that his 2018 "My East Is Your West" album on Gearbox is a 'Live Album'.