I genuinely do not understand how this can in the list of best albums.
Beyond Skin is an album by English musician Nitin Sawhney. It was released on the Outcaste label in 1999. The album focuses largely on the theme of nuclear weapons; Sawhney states in the booklet that the album "has a timespan that runs backwards", beginning at "Broken Skin" with the India-Pakistan nuclear situation and ending at "Beyond Skin" with Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita – "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds". Sawhney also aims to question what constitutes one's identity – he writes in the liner notes for the album: "I believe in Hindu philosophy. I am not religious. I am a pacifist. I am a British Asian. My identity and my history are defined only by myself – beyond politics, beyond nationality, beyond religion, and Beyond Skin."
I genuinely do not understand how this can in the list of best albums.
Mood music for when you're in the mood to test the limits of boredom.
1.8 - I cringe because I would’ve pretended to like this garbage in grad school to ingratiate myself with my intellectual classmates. It would’ve been playing at some potluck dinner where I and half the guests brought store-bought tabouli. This is music to very deeply contemplate, doing your best to deny the voice within screaming at you to shut it off. Because deep down you know this music sucks. The fusion of genres is an utter mess. And it tries so hard to be a concept album but what’s the actual concept? Nuclear annihilation? Xenophobia? The Indian diaspora? The only reason this album gets a pass is because it appeals to peoples’ need to appear smart and worldly. We choke it down and smile politely like we do with our store-bought tabouli.
I enjoyed this one. It was completely different to anything else I’ve heard in this collection so far, and it was nice to listen to. It was interesting and pretty varied and felt like it was introducing me to world music.
Cool album. The popier stuff reminded me of FKA Twigs and early Massive Attack -- which is a very high compliment. A very ecclectic album with all sorts of influences that I will return to.
Really liked that, different
what a load of artsy shit. not sure why it makes this list - beyond being a token entry for "weird shit". This actively annoyed me so 1/5.
First one of these albums that I‘ve never heard of or recognise so it’s refreshing to do a review without any preconception of what it’ll be like... Its alright. A bit too much experimentation and far too high brow for me. There’s a couple of nice songs amongst mostly jarring over the top experiments with the Indian language but nothing stands out as incredible and I probably wouldn’t listen to it again unless for quiet background music with some snobby people. My first guess that this would’ve won the Mercury Prize. I was wrong, but it did get nominated and I really think this is pandering a little bit to the prestigious weirdness of the award.
I simply can't find this coffee-shop electronic interesting. It's too much precisely like the other world-compilation-sounding duds on the list, and I made the additional mistake of reading reviews. So many comments about "experimentalism"; There's nothing experimental here! It's literally just got a few samples and recordings of traditional percussion. Shame, since the fact that the West's most terrifying military achievement was connected explicitly to the Indian sacred is a legitimately tempting concept. But when the parodic synth instrument entered after the first vocal snippet I knew more or less what I was in for. (I should also note that the cover reminds me of Lafawndah's Fifth Season and the two projects are not totally dissimilar. My appreciation for that album illuminates the flaws in this review, I hope.)
Wow. I was really blown away by this one. A diverse album from an artist with seemingly endless talents. The apocalyptic "beyond skin" themes add a lot of gravity.
Transcendent. Jazzy, cinematic. Excellent. The first track isn't really my cup of tea, but then it takes off from there.
I think there is great genius in this album. What a labor of love and caring that this prolific artist, operating mostly in the shadows, would use his clout to speak out, beautifully, loudly and passionately, about a cause that concerns him. The production is absolutely stunning, the mixes so complex and yet focused and affecting. The vocals are compelling throughout. The various styles could strike some as too all over the place, but I saw the eclecticism as a way of bringing together many eras and many peoples in a salute to our varied humanity. The concept can be a little heavy-handed at times, but the subject matter is so important that I can let that slide a little. Working backwards in time feels right to me, as it gets us back, at the end of the album, to a time of more innocence and helps us wonder how we might get there again, or where might we be without this threat. This is not an album to put on for easy listening and I wouldn't necessarily dial up songs from it on a whim. But it is an Important album in other ways. I'm glad I've heard it and can see great value in revisiting it in the future.
Some cools songs on here. Can't tell whether I love it or hate it. One minute the album is nice background music and the next it's aggressively shoving soundwaves in your ear (in a bad way). Very unique and sounds like it has a wide range of influences.
A bit out-there in places, but there's some really interesting tracks on this album. Lots of diversity in the style of tracks - particularly liked the drum and bass influences in 'Nadia' and the hip-hop feel of 'Pilgrim'. Not sure I'd frequently play this album, but I enjoyed listening to it on the whole.
The algorithm must believe that I need another 1 rating to offset all the 5's I've been getting lately. The instrumental track was nice. So were some of the songs with the female vocalists. I was thisclose to bumping this up to a 2, but that album cover just annoys the shit out of me.
Bro looks like he is nutting
lo-fi hip-hop w/ Indian music
First 5 baybay. that first track tho
New age feeling
5/5 - Cool! Adding this to my library.
Beautifully composed. A spiritual journey.
No entendí el disco (?), tampoco me esforcé esta vez en buscar más sobre él o el artista, pero la verdad es que lo disfruté y es un soundrtrack chill como para hacer otras cosas en la computadora o demás. Muy estraño, pero muy interesante. Favs: "Homelands", "Nadia", "The Conference" y "Beyond Skin". 9/10
indian jazz/electronica. Might be too distracting for work but i hope not. I love it! not all his stuff but a great surprise and my first 5 star album <3
super different. one of my favs so far, nadia, letting go, pilgrim, broken skin, homelands, nostalgia so fire
Beyond it all
Brilliant! Really like this! Don’t know how. Haven’t heard it before. I’ll get it on vinyl
A remarkable work of art with something to say and many layers to appreciate. Was new to me.
First album to actually blow me away. I was not ready for this album to be so good. Great themes addressing important real world issues, and still being good music. Actually making every song vary from eachother and not just making a 50 min. song. I'm looking at you Rage Against The Machine. Starting off, or should I say, ending with a chill hip-hoppy, silent, broken future of a radioactive fallout or something. Just fucking builds up from there, cause "Homelands" really is a fucking masterpiece, and that caught me off-guard. "Serpents" is the only song that kinda sucks and gets tiring to listen to. "The Conference" was really fucking silly, but I heard it for the first time while getting my room ready for control in the military in like 2 minutes, stressing so much while two dudes yell "didkdkydduddjudjdududkdidudkidkdid" in my ears because I wouldn't take out my earbuds because I couldn't find my headphonecase. Crazy shit. But it really had an effect to say the least. 5/5
Love this. Feel daft for missing it originally. I think jo whiley put me off. This is ace. I feel smarter listening to it. Layered multilingual vocals. Beats. Reverb. Class.
Loved loved loved this
interesting to say the least I had no idea there was such a big British Indian techno scene but I fuck with it
A delightful surprise!
I do love this album.
Miscelanea de estilos musicales. Muy melódico. Vinilo.
I really enjoyed this. Totally unlike anything I've heard so far on the list. It was a chilled out electronic world music journey, while also having a very important and terrifying subject matter at its core. A few of these songs are definitely going into my library. Favourite: Nadia
Miscelanea de estilos musicales. Muy melódico. Vinilo.
I absolutely loved this. The blend of styles, the concept, the sounds and variety, it all hit the spot just right.
BEST SONGS: -Letting Go -Pilgrim
A timely appearance. I saw Oppenheimer last week, and it’s really good. It’s Christopher Nolan at his Christopher Nolanest, so there's absolutely no hope of it passing the Bechdel test, but it should delight you if you recognise the name Leo Szilard. Anyway, this is an album that begins and ends nuclear weapon announcements: the first track, Broken Skin, samples a news report on the possibility of nuclear war between India and Pakistan, whilst the last track quotes Oppenheimer’s recollection that, when the first nuclear test proved successful, he thought of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.” That Oppenheimer cited the Bhagavad Gita, a central text in Hinduism, chimes with another thematic element of the album: Indian identity, particularly seen through the prisms of strife between Hindus and Muslims in India, and the experience of the Indian diaspora in modern Britain. I am in no way informed enough to attempt to speak with any authority on those issues. What I can say is that in the late nineties, Indian influence on mainstream British culture expanded, as was inevitable. Nitin Sawhney has been a significant figure in that evolution, not only in musical spheres, but also as one of the writers and performers of the British Asian sketch show Goodness Gracious Me. However, he is far better known as a musician and composer. His musical palate has proven vast, with this album alone ranging from Indian classical music to flamenco and drum n bass. This of course ties in with the album’s message that identity is beyond skin colour, and that one should embrace the world, not aim nukes at it. And as such, I feel a little daunted trying to write a review. There are so many ingredients to this that I’m not especially familiar with, so one effect specifically on me is minor apprehension. This is both my fault and not my fault: anyone unaccustomed to a music tradition will initially feel a little adrift at first listen. Still, I want to have an increased appreciation of a wider range of music, hence why I’m undertaking this challenge. And there are passages of real beauty on this album: the female vocals on Immigrant are notably shiver-inducing (I’ve tried looking, but I’ve not been able to find out the name of the singer). But the album has such a wide musical buffet that I feared a touch of aural indigestion. That said, I will say that this album does deserve 5 stars. Just because it’s not my standard fare doesn’t mean I don’t find it delicious. The United States has lost 6 nuclear weapons. All of these are at the bottom of the sea (well, suspected but never confirmed in two cases). It is not known how many nuclear weapons Russia has lost, but some experts estimate that the number of missing Russian nukes could be dozens. Sleep well, my pukka sahibs and memsahibs! NoRadio, signing off.
Loved this English-Indian music!
crazy impressive album! it’s wild that something like this gets to exist what a rich blend of world music! — 9/10
Really interesting album. Probably will listen more
This is one of those albums that I NEVER would've come across without this site. Thankfully, I did. What a weird, wonderful, eclectic collection of songs.
Actually created a groove in my brain
This morning I'm finishing up listening to Nitin Sawhney's album called "Beyond Skin" from 1999. This feels fresh to me, and it was a great thing to hear last night as I was getting ready for bed. It's very close to some of the lounge/chill/instrumental playlists I often listen to on Spotify. I'm also a fan of world music and rhythms and this had some really fantastic parts related to Indian culture. The title of the album makes sense, it's like music that transcends culture and skin color and connects you with these beats and rhythms that feel elemental. You connect with it, even though it feels worlds away from my point of view. Surprising and very enjoyable.
This is an old fave of mine - and you couldn't really ask for bigger subject matter for an album, could you!? Lovely vocals and melodies, gorgeous beats, and sobering samples. Fantastic stuff. Fave track - "Nadia" perhaps? "Homelands" is amazing though, as is "The Conference".
Actually really liked the mix of styles in this, was great work music too
Fascinating music with an occasional side swipe of intense 90s pop.
Very interesting, but many songs don’t really hold up for their full lengths. The sound and production are amazing though. Overall, around a 7
7/10. Tricky one to rate, but had an interesting concept, and was refreshingly different from a lot of the stuff on this list.
pretty strange but interesting! I wish the concept had been stronger and I didn’t love the English lyrics 7/10
Viel besser als gedacht. Teilweise richtig kluger Pop aber auch darüber hinaus
triphopy and good !
Wtf was this beaty???
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Broken skin, Homelands, Nadia, The conference
Creative, and different album. Enjoyed it
Sí me gustó, por lo general todo intento de combinar y experimentar que salga decente tiene mi aprovacion. Fav: nostalgia, suena muy pop noventero.
This was quite interesting. Enjoyed it.
Heel verrassende muziek. Begon een beetje vreemd maar werd al snel een beetje RnB-achtig. Daarna kwam er toch iets meer India naar boven. Aangename zangstem. Muziek is wel een beetje voor de nacht, maar heel goed te luisteren. Mijn favoriet is "Nostalgia". ****
Interesting, different, needs a few more listens to really get to grips with it
It's very pretty but this kind of music rarely grabs me. The imposition of quotes for the upcoming nuclear apocalypse and the juxtaposition against beauty and slick production are jarring, however, and it certainly had an effect. I found myself morose for most of the day after listening. So four stars for really meaning something, and for getting a rise out of me, and for several songs I get to add to the rotation.
This was an interesting listen. I enjoyed the originality of the album, and how they tried to weave a story with songs. I liked the overall vibes, even if a few songs are bit over the top.
Jednostavno fantastičan album od početka do kraja. 👏
Score might change on a second listen but was surprised how much i enjoyed it. Very unique
really interesting blend of world and trance beats; The Conference has some crazy-impressive tongue work
Really surprising mix of east and west. Liked this one a lot.
Really enjoyed it - i guess I'm getting used to Indian music, but the overall vibe was of a chic curry house - one I'd like to eat at!
I really liked this! Pretty much echoed my thoughts for the album OK by Talvin Singh. It's a different sound for electronic music to have. Very enjoyable listen
I had never heard of this album before. It was a wild trip to listen to it slide through triphop, jazz, and back around again.
Very mellow, like Anita Baker. One reviewer says it melds Spanish flamenco with Indian ragas, but i don't hear either on the first track
A super clever fusion album. Sawhney collaborates with a number of artists to meld several disaparate styles. Some of these songs weren't my bag, but the format of the album is such that if you don't like something, all you have to do is wait a bit and something better is on the horizon. Really well constructed. Best track: Broken Skin
Really liked this. Interesting and melodic and thoughtful and thought provoking. I will listen again and seek out more
Very relevant in this age of imminent nuclear catastrophe . A great undertow of protest through audio landscape . Beautiful samples and rhythms . A real electro art album ; impressed .
Interesting album this. Lots of really old influences, merged with what was really up to date trip-hop sounds, it crams a lot into its runtime.
No idea what to expect here. The artist's name sounds Asian and the track listing seems somewhat political. Rolling and ... still not what I expected. How pretty! First two songs are just lovely and a bit sad. Nadia is a little inaccessible to me as I'm not that versed in Indian music, Immigrant is a nice mix of styles that really works well, towards the end it makes me think of Christina Aguilera (whereas Nostalgia maybe goes a little Bjork). Serpents is fascinating. All in all a really interesting album that I enjoyed listening too. A bit long, both the individual songs and the album in total. But super ambitious in theme. I'm impressed. And once again glad to have embarked on this project.
Pilgrim is a good song I really like the composition of this album.
This album truly had a couple of great tracks during which I thought "wow, I'm loving this, might be a five star album". The music is interesting and frequently beautiful. But in the end it doesn't quite get there. There aren't any positive standout tracks and a couple bad apples (wtf was The Conference?). Still a very nice listen .
I enjoyed this a lot. A really diverse sounding album, borrowing from so many different styles.
This album is pretty cool. I didn't love every part of it, but it certainly sounds advanced for its time. Some parts could be repetitive (Pilgrim is a pretty dull song), but the songs flow together well. The underlying theme of the atomic bomb is very interesting, especially since the fear of nuclear war was pretty low in 1999. The music has a diverse set of influences 4/5
Such a cool mix of influences. I love the Indian elements combined with the chill downtempo vibes.
A real mixed bag. A lot of beauty, the occasional thorn. Nadia is one of my new favourite songs.
Surprisingly very good, I really enjoyed it
Best Song: Homelands. The mix of traditional songs and instruments comes together beautifully here. Worst Song: Pilgrim. Not a bad song, per se, but it definitely doesn't fit with the vibe of the rest of the album. Overall: This artist was totally new to me, and I found myself really enjoying this album. A great mix of samples and chill instrumental beats. Perfect for working or cooking, but also interesting enough to listen to outright (i.e., not just in the background).
The use of of Oppenheimer in the final track in his quote of the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds’ to bookend an album that opens with voiceovers from the India/Pakistan nuclear situation was chilling and really underscored Nitin Sawhney’s exploration of British/Asian identity and its inherent tensions. The music itself is really engaging downtempo drum and bass that incorporates elements of Indian music throughout in various degrees. Sawhney is incredibly musically literate and this translates to an album full of various motifs across genre contextualized together over the hypnotic beat. Several songs lose the eat completely and play out within more of a jazz format, but those tracks work well to break up the more electronically driven elements.
This was pretty damn good honestly. It goes in every direction at once. Trip-Hop? Tired of that, this is an electronic album now. Actually, this is a Hindi classical album now. Just kidding, back to trip-hop. Actually let's do a lo-fi song. Okay, back to Hindi classical... with a tinge of jazz. The second half drags on a bit, despite still having some great songs. "The Conference" is so silly, I love it. It's like two Animal Crossing characters arguing. Can't choose one favorite track. Either "Broken Skin", "Homelands", "Pilgrim" or "Nostalgia".
A bit random, but the sound is relaxing, and the message is good.
Unlike much else I have listened to, a mix of instrumental tracks, samples (or recreations) of news reports, and songs about both of the above. Like a concept album about nuclear weapons, but cheerier than that sounds! Also, it was really interesting to hear his music, as I know him better as a radio and TV presenter
Interesting Indian chillout album.