NIRAJ CHAG – ALONG THE DUSTY ROAD
Three years ago, Niraj started work on what he thought would be a pet project. Now completed, Along the Dusty Road is bigger than he ever imagined. Thirteen tracks in six languages, backed by specially commissioned photography and videos; it’s his most personal work yet.
Whilst the first single Bangles was inspired by his grandmother’s journey from East Africa to the UK, Road has grown to become a summary of Niraj’s own journey over the last few years.
It would be easy on first listen to describe the theme of the album as ‘isolation’ – perhaps too easy. Instead the themes are varied, ranging from Loss… separation… melancholy… you’ll hear several, but the overall effect is more uplifting. Experience of touring in Asia, long hot summers, encounters in London with colorful characters: they’re all key influences that burst through the music.
In the end, Along the Dusty Road is just too difficult to define simply, or pin down to a particular scene. It has tracks which rely on complex classical ideas, while Niraj himself comes from a very different musical background: and just listening to An Offering where oriental sounds are layered on top of an Indian-influenced beat, more gut-feel alchemy than textbook chemistry. It’s the contradictions that make Road more wholesome, more authentic to real life than any album that’s been out for a while.
So… it’s not simple. It’s a process, as much as an end result. It’s not about isolation (and it is). It’s a big world, in a small space. And it sounds damn good…