Kush Arora

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Blackdown’s hug-mugging post reminded me that I’d been meaning to say a few words about Kush Arora, who was kind enough to send me copies,  last month, of his recent 12″ (bowling ball-style, marble-pressed, no less) and new album From Brooklyn to SF. Often, over the last year or so, it’s been these unexpected deliveries that have given me the most joy – experiments in freshness from out of the blue. San Francisco-based Kush describes From Brooklyn to SF as ‘an adventure of Dread Bass, dubstep,/dub, and desi dancehall.’ In the wrong hands, that could easily become Nightmares in Exotica but, when he’s at his best, Kush weaves his desi-hyperdub with the ease and familiarity of someone who’s been been mentally parsing and splicing these strands for years. What really makes the album is the combination of his deft production (often including live guitar, dhol and dholak) with really excellent vocalists – in form of (occasional Dub War host) Juakali, Zulu, N4SA, Blacksmith and Gurmeet Jauwar – who trade-off verses that bridge dancehall, bhangra and hip hop. Each strong in his own right, there’s not a weak link in the bunch.

With its firm grounding in desi, dubstep and dancehall, this really isn’t the sort of thing I’d expected to hear coming from North America. I’m very happily surprised.

Listen, read up and buy at KushArora.com.

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