Nights At The Circus will certainly appeal to those who like their music on the...
Jaspreet Pandohar 2008-02-21
Emerging as a vibrant artist to watch, Bishi is a young singer, DJ and multi instrumentalist from London. Abandoning a fine arts degree to follow a career in music, by 17 Bishi (aka DJ Siren) saw her club and live following grow, and was touring with the likes of Pulp and Goldfrapp. Making her debut album at just 19, Nights At The Circus is an exciting fusion of British pop, folk, eastern electronica and urban life. It's a showcase for one of the freshest Asian (and female) voices to come out of Britain in recent years.
Each of the twelve tracks has something original to offer. The album's title is inspired by Angela Carter's novel of the same name. Like the tale of a mixed race performer whose dark adventures cover vast regions of the globe, whilst having firm roots in the London Underground, Bishi's Bengali and British origins and sense of adventure are clearly reflected in her worldly grooves.
Throughout, Bishi mixes and matches sounds and genres to great effect. Bold sitar riffs accompany crystal clear vocals in Nightbus, a track inspired by the characters encountered during late night jaunts on the public transport. Meanwhile touches of the xylophone, tabla and synthesizer appear in I Am You.
Influences of Bishi's Icelandic heroine, Bjork, are detected in songs like The Swan, which transports you into a fantasy world with enchanting vocals and harp chords. However, it's the livelier numbers that impress more than the mellow. Never Seen Your Face, stands out for its catchy lyrics and melody. Similarly, On My Own Again gets the feet and heart thumping thanks to Bishi's stirring performance, complimented by the sensual sounds of the French accordion.
One common factor that runs through all the songs is Bishi's superior sitar skills. Having studied the instrument at the Ravi Shankar School for Music, she clearly knows how to make good use of it. By playing it standing up like an Indian rock goddess, she creates a young and sexy resonance instead of the classical twang associated with her guru.
Like M.I.A and Natasha (Bat For Lashes) Khan before her, Bishi is a distinctive voice which has stayed away from the Bhangra and R 'n' B genres usually preferred by British Asian artists. Nights At The Circus will certainly appeal to those which like their music on the experimental side.