erasing clouds

Future Pilot AKA, Salute Your Soul

reviewed by anna battista

The Indian greeting "Namaste" literally means "I salute the divine within you", which could be shortened to the less literal translation "I salute your soul". This is why Future Pilot AKA's Sushil K. Dade decided to entitle his third album, the follow up to the 2001 Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea, Salute Your Soul, a title which gives a spiritual aura to the record, but also indicates that some of the tracks have a profound soul element.

Divided in two parts, the first entitled "WAR", the second "PEACE", possibly to have a connection with the contemporary world events, the album contains fourteen tracks, most of them sung by Sushil's wife, Vinita, in her beautifully soothing voice. Salute Your Soul opens with a few samples, one saying "…within the Bush administration…" before fading, buried under Philip Glass's voice (yes, the mighty Philip Glass) stating "This is Philip Glass and you're listening to Future Pilot AKA". We get into the full Future Pilot experience with the first song of the album, "Mein Nahi Jana", an Indian chant with infectious reggae rhythms and the result of a collaboration between Future Pilot AKA and (legendary reggae icon, DJ and most famous for his connections with The Clash) Mikey Dread. Together with this track, "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)", that sounds like a gospel classic, "Dammers or Czukay?" and "Battle at the Gates of Dub", two flawless dub hymns, and "Pehli Chaand", an Indian chant with irresistible percussions, stand among the best tracks of the whole album. Very honourable mentions go to "Love of the Land" featuring Subway Sect's Vic Godard and "Ravi Shankar" which contains samples of an interview with Philip Glass who chats with Sushil about meeting Ravi Shankar in the '60s (note that one of Sushil's fave records is Ravi Shankar's collaboration with Philip Glass, "Passages"). Fans of Teenage Fanclub and Orange Juice will also rejoice to know that Norman Blake, Gerry Love and James Kirk all appear as additional musicians in the same track.

The final chant, "Aap Ke Bina", reminds me of the litany "Prayer for Ananda" which closed Future Pilot's previous album, and it again perfectly fits the mood of the album, quiet and lulling after a relentless journey through Indian traditional music, soul, dub, gospel and pop. Recorded in a flat in Glasgow (Sushil's first album Future Pilot AKA Vs A Galaxy of Sound was recorded in his bedroom), Salute Your Soul is a true gem. Namaste to you, Pilot.

Future Pilot AKA:

Issue 22, April 2004

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