M.I.A. - Kala (2xLP Vinyl)

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M.I.A (aka London born Maya Arulpragasam) grew up in the UK, India and Sri Lanka--which may go some way to explaining the bewildering, fragrant, intoxicating mesh of sounds, rhythms and head-on sonic clashes that surge willfully throughout her second album, Kala--the result of her own personal voyage of artistic discovery. She’s absorbed, in addition to her own eclectic electro beginnings, aboriginal hip-hop, Jamaican dancehall, Liberian and Trinidadian influences, also finding the time to work with Timbaland (not nearly, incidentally, the highlight of the record). On "Mango Pickle Down River" she sounds like Missy Elliot shuffling in a didgeridoo with a rapping children’s choir she picked up somewhere en route, while the fittingly titled "World Town" is grime arriving on an asteroid during a tribal ceremony with sound effects ranging from a cocked gun to apparent digitized bagpipes. Considering how out-of-this-world-original M.I.A’s Mercury-nominated debut Arular was it is a rare delight that she’s progressed with such resolute surefootedness, losing none of her intrigue. You’ve got a lot of miles to cover to catch her up, let’s put it that way.


This more than took a while before it became something I actually liked, even a little bit.  It just initially seemed awkward and well honestly obnoxious for the longest time.  Then finally after catching the video for "Boyz" a few times it became something that would get stuck in my head.  That was the point where I decided to give in and actually buy the album.  In time I've come to appreciate "Bamboo Banga", "20 Dollar", "Paper Planes" and "Bird Flu" and honestly I don't really hate any of it.  It's just a bit distracting if you are trying to listen to it and do anything but pay attention.  I actually like her debut more because the songs actually seem more...hmm complete, this sounds really primative, and well at times you'd swear she was trying to annoy her audience.  Some of the sampling and such used are simply a little too much and parts are extremely repetative.  Perhaps I'll like it more if I keep going, but I can't help but get the feeling I'm too old and undancey to truly ever appreciate this as much as I should.  It's an interesting effort and I honestly applaud her for taking risks and trying to do something different, this just isn't going to appeal to everyone is all, and at an initial glance I can entirely understand someone disliking this.  Lucky for me I've grown to like it, but it's not the sort of thing I'd recommend to anyone, if you feel like you want something original sounding and jarring then this is likely a good bet for you.

By: Goregirl

A1 Bamboo Banga
A2 Birdflu
A3 Boyz
B1 Jimmy
B2 Hussel
B3 Manglo Pickle Down River
C1 20 Dollar
C2 World Town
C3 The Turn
D2 Paper Planes
D3 Come Around

Record Label : XL Recordings

Cat No: XLLP 281