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World Music CD Reviews North American

MICHAEL BROOK

By STACY MEYN
Published March 3, 2006

India—Kingdom of the Tiger
Primesco

Toronto guitarist, producer and soundtrack maven Michael Brook (John Hassell, Brian Eno, Martha and the Muffins, Daniel Lanois) hooks up with giant-screeners Primesco for the latest science center/IMAX eyeball-fest India—Kingdom Of The Tiger. Brook also has the cultural pedigree, having collaborated with Indian electric mandolin player U. Srinivas and the late Pakistani Qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The film is a liberal chronicle of English hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett combined with the day-to-day activities of the famed Bengal tiger, and depicts India from 1910 to now—in 40 minutes. Helping to pull that off is Brook’s engrossing (yet not histrionic) score, which features violin, cello, flute, tanpura, sitar, tabla, saztur, duduk, and additional percussion, as well as vocals by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Lakshmi Shankar. Plaintive flute strains lead into flourishes and ferocious rhythms ebbing into hypnotic sitar tones—and that’s just track one. These varying dynamics are the norm of the compositions—it’s easy to imagine an idyllic landscape scene complete with mama tiger doting over cubs, then a quick shift to a village’s perceived threat from same. Songs reek of momentum, so no danger of bland score that can’t keep up with the visuals.