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Old Jungle Saying: The Story So Far

By Jayaprakash Satyamurthy | May 10, 2006

Old Jungle Saying: The Story So Far

Jungle Funk, Urban Style

Does humour belong in music? Well, why not. Everything else seems to these days, including field recordings captured by intrepid anthropologists, all manner of computeristic gizmology, manufactured white-boy angst, carefully sculpted black-boy aggro and everything except the kitchen sink, because that, of course, is reserved for prog-rock fossils who actually (*shudder*) know how to play music.

In that spirit, Old Jungle Saying, a loose assemblage of feral children from the wilderness of Bangalore seem bent on flinging together odds, sods, bits and bobs of funk, classic rock, jazz, modern rock and lately even some latin thingamajigs in the hope that it will all coalesce into something approaching music.

So far, it seems have to worked, by and large, with judicious application of the aforementioned humour. The three songs that they currently have up for grabs on their oddly-designed website deal with sexual politics in the jungle, the whereabouts and fates of female skinny-dippers and other things less amenable to simple summarisation. More importantly, they crackle and pop with funky grooves, jammy playing and propulsive rhythms. Click on the link, download them and see for yourselves.

Their line-up has also been in something of a state of flux, at least partly because band mainstay Sandeep Madhavan (who also plays bass for Aatma) seems to like it that way. Original guitarist Mel, whom you hear on this recording, has since departed to other realms and been replaced by multi-instrumentalist Sankarsan Kini, and keyboardist Avijit has moved on to other dimensions of sound and chaos, never to be replaced. I’ve seen them play at irregular intervals ever since their first show (conveniently located in a local pub) and it’s reassuring to note that there’s been a quite a bit of progress along the way. The sound is still led by the rhythm section, but both Mel and more recently Sankarsan have been finding interesting textures and solos to lay down over Sandeep’s Claypool-isms and Greg Hamra’s rock-solid drumming, and vocalist Aditya adds a bit of acoustic guitar here and there for whatever reason. Their live shows still have a tendency to devolve into extended free-form jams of dubious texture and shape, but you might even enjoy those. In the future, look out for OJS touring with P-Funk and Snoop Dogg, Sandeep switching over to pedal steel and Sankarsan sobering up. They’re the Old Jungle Saying. [Independent, 2006]

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