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Review of All India Radio's Permanent Evolutions
, Manual 010 (May 2006)


Christine Moritz's review of All India Radio's album Permanent Evolutions appeared in Manual 010 of the downtempo magazine RE:UP.

Article reprinted by permission from RE:UP


All India Radio
Permanent Evolutions

Inevitable / 2006

It's not often that you run into a project that puts forth an ambient sensibility while maintaining a beat, but All India Radio is one such project. Conjuring up images of wide-open spaces, the cinematic soundscapes on their recent Permanent Evolutions recall the soundtrack work of David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti or Wim Wenders collaborator Ry Cooder. As it turns out, All India Radio—an Australian project led by Martin Kennedy in collaboration with bandmates Mark Wendt and Ben Sims—has indeed provided music for film and television.

A collection of remixes, unreleased tracks, and film music, Permanent Evolutions runs the gamut from experimental beatlessness to gentle downtempo pop. Some tracks, such as "Walking on A.I.R." or the glitchy interlude "Little Mexico," may be too ambient for certified beatfanatics. More upbeat and accessible is "For Angel," presented here as the All India Radio vs. Don Meers Mix. With gentle vocals by Chloe Hall, the song is reminiscent of Hefner's "Stagger" or Boomclick's "Follow Love," though more stripped-down than either; its updated pop/folk sensibility also calls to mind Beth Orton. The album's standout track is the instrumental "Life and How to Do It," whose slide-guitar sounds evoke the broad vistas of a long car ride through the desert.

Listening to Permanent Evolutions, one may wonder where exactly the "India" in All India Radio fits into the picture. In contrast to projects with more overt, emphatic Eastern influences, All India Radio's incorporation of Indian sounds is fairly subtle. There's an understated tabla presence in the Don Meers remix of "Permanent Revolutions," whose percussion and rhythm make the song a gentler cousin of Thievery Corporation's Eastern-flavored "2001." Though the song "For Angel" has some sitar elements, they serve as embellishment rather than a focal point.

While All India Radio may not entirely live up to its name, Permanent Evolutions is a welcome addition to the sometimes-overlooked ambient end of the downtempo spectrum and should whet appetites for the project's next full-length, expected in May. As Mixmaster Morris once instructed fans of ambient music, "Lie down and be counted." CM


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