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Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt - A Meeting by The River

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SugarMedia

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Artist : Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt
Title: A Meeting by the river
Year of Release: February 16, 1993
Record Label: Water Lily Acoustics
asin:B000005L9Z
average rating: 5 stars

Let me start with this... This is a pure analog recordiing done exclusively with custom built triode vacuum-tube electronics. The microphone set-up was the classic Blumlein arrangement. No noise reduction, equailization, compression, or limiting of any sort was used in the making of this CD. Microphones, Mic pre-amp and recorder were also custom tube vacuum design. Buy it!!

A Meeting by the River can best be described as a spontaneous outpouring of music, unhindered by convention or form, brought into being by musicians so supremely capable that the music is never labored, the technique of their craft always subservient to the final product. Cooder and Bhatt are genuine masters of the guitar and mohan vina, respectively. The latter, an instrument created by Bhatt himself, is a sort of hybrid between a guitar and a vichitra vina, and is played with a metal slide. This fact is just one of the many things that connect Bhatt's playing to Cooder's, who plays nothing but bottleneck guitar here. The musical interplay between Cooder and Bhatt is nothing short of astounding, especially so considering that they met for the first time only a half-hour before the recording of this album. The voices of the two instruments blend marvelously, first alternating melodic statements, then doing so together, each dancing around the other, playing cat and mouse, probing, answering, reflecting. They are ably accompanied by a pair of percussionists: tabla player Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari and Cooder's own son, Joachim, on dumbek. A Meeting by the River is one of those few cross-genre albums in which the listener never feels for a second that there is some kind of fusion going on; one does not hear the component parts so much as the integrated whole. However, one can theoretically separate guitar from vina, America from India, the Mississippi from the Ganges. Once this is done, the resulting music makes more sense than ever before, the combination of two traditions of stringed instruments that use slides to produce sound and value improvisation and voice-like phrasing. As good as this sounds on paper, the actual results are even more impressive. The splendor of the music is aided in its transmission by the fact that, like all Water Lily Acoustics releases, this album is masterfully recorded; each instrument is clear, distinct, and three-dimensional sounding. A Meeting by the River is a must-own, a thing of pure, unadulterated beauty, and the strongest record in Cooder's extensive catalog. :)
 

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MiTT

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I second SugarMedia's recommendation on this album. Wonderful combination of East meets West. Ry Cooder is never afraid to merge musical styles and this recording is a shining example of the type of outcome from such experimentation. I find it spellbinding!

I have it on vinyl and CD, and I believe it available as an SACD as well. Typical of Waterlilly Acoustics releases, the sound is stunning.
 

SugarMedia

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MiTT said:
I have it on vinyl and CD, and I believe it available as an SACD as well. Typical of Waterlilly Acoustics releases, the sound is stunning.
Just when I thought I recommened a CD that you didn't have in your massive collection, you again proved me wrong.

Glad you're enjoying it though...
 

Dreamer

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I totally agree with this recommendation. I got turned on to this series about 10 years ago when a dear friend gave me a copy on cassette that his father had made for him. We listened to it on his system (Bose 401s driven by a beautiful vintage '70's Marantz receiver--the only time I've heard Bose speakers sound musical...) and after playing it a few times, I ran out and bought the CD.

A few years later, I got my Sequels, and it was like listening to a brand new recording. That was the moment, I think, that I was TOTALLY hooked on "high-end" audio, or at least that was the moment that the Joeyitis virus became terminally lodged into my nervous system.... :p

Soon afterwards, I got a Meridian 208 and a pair of Carver Silver 7t's, and they were the final nails in my audiophile coffin...

--Richard
 
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Cherian

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Sugarmedia,

Thanks for this recommendation. I just got this CD yesterday and totally love it. Every track!!!

Thanks again,

Cherian
 

MiTT

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So here's an update to some earlier posts on this album. I just picked up the Acoustic Sounds re-issue on 2 slabs of great vinyl (copied from my post in the "Sunday Morning Misic" thread...

If you haven't heard this album yet, you simply must. Although it sounds suspect at first to think about blending Cooder's bluesy slide work with Indian themes and sitar and tabla like instumentation, the end result is nothing short of mesmerizing. Originally recorded on the Waterlilly label as an all analog recording this has always been as standout on both LP, CD and SACD, but the new Acoustic Sounds pressing on 45 RPM vinyl is stunning. Absolutely silent surfaces and an increase in the acoustic envelope over the CD that made my jaw drop. If you are into vinyl this one has to be on your short list!
 

tsmooth

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HA, I just picked this off of ebay for $10 on CD. I was able to listen to some of the album on YouTube and get excited. Thanks for the recommendation.
 
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