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CMU #82: Nitin Sawhney

It’s no surprise that fusion composer and DJ Nitin Sawhney has an eclectic sound, given how diverse his early passions and projects were. Despite a passion for classical music during his teenage years in South London, he subsequently played in punk bands, before later touring with acid-jazz outfit The James Taylor Quartet. Having dropped out from law studies in Liverpool, he trained as an accountant and, while a student, became friends with Sanjeev Bhaskar. Together they formed comedy duo The Secret Asians, and act that eventually led to Bhaskar’s ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ venture.

But of course it’s for his work as a solo composer and musician that Sawhney is best known. He released his debut album ‘Spirit Dance’ in 1994, and has since blurred many a genre boundary during a prolific seventeen years releasing albums, compilations and remix LPs, and working on numerous scores for films, theatre and dance productions, video games and TV series, the most recent of which was the sprawling soundtrack to the BBC’s anthropology epic, ‘Human Planet’.

Nitin worked with ‘Human Planet’ narrator John Hurt and Anthony Gormley on his ninth and latest studio LP, ‘Last Days Of Meaning’. Categorising the record as “a parable about entrenchment and dogmatism… a modern day ‘Christmas Carol’”, Nitin seeks to excavate topical themes of blame and prejudice through his music, tracing a bigoted Dickensian miser (voiced by Hurt) as he reflects on his past and society at large.

Here he has compiled a Powers Of Ten Playlist marrying his part-nostalgic, part-innovative musical tastes.

He says: “My earliest memories are of listening to my Dad’s incredibly diverse record collection. He had masses of vinyl from Cuba, Spain, India, Brazil and Pakistan, supplemented with jazz, classical, early reggae and a whole host of other musical genres. This, along with my Mum’s strict diet of Indian classical music and my brothers’ Radio Caroline-inspired mix of prog rock and new wave, shaped my perspective on music all the way to my earliest jam sessions and gigs”.

He continues: “The playlist of tracks that I have selected reflects the spirit of those early memories and a lot of the sounds I continue to love. For me, music always has the dual purpose of reflection and inspiration, but invariably gets my head into the right space”.

Find out more about each of his choices <a href="http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/nitin-sawhneys-powers-of-ten-playlist/">here</a>.



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10 Tracks, 56 minutes