Welcome, to a world of cinematic lushness, orchestral delights, global voices, rhythms, vintage synthesizers and electronic bleeps. This is Bombay Dub Orchestra– the remarkable debut album “3 Cities” from the U.K.-based duo of Garry Hughes and Andrew T. Mackay. This debut album “3 Cities” is launched by one of the largest music archive in India- Saregama.
Bombay Dub Orchestra is music that will stroke the senses and enamor the soul, with its uniquely brilliant crossover of orchestral arrangements, modern, lush beats and synthesizers and a heavy slant to the music of India. The name "Bombay Dub Orchestra" conjures up visions of the garish pop of Bollywood’s song-and-dance numbers, or the reverb-drenched, proto-psychedelic sounds of Jamaican dub, this music creates and sustains a very different mood.
It all began some seven years ago when producer Garry Hughes and string arranger-composer Andrew T. Mackay, came to India to record some of that city’s top session players for a project. The goal, according to Hughes and Andrew was simple: “to explore music that no one else had so far done.”
The majority of the music was written in the U.K., in Hughes countryside studio and Mackay’s West London studio. In March 2005, Mackay and Hughes finally returned to Bombay and began putting the final elements of their long-awaited debut album together.
"During that week, we recorded a 28-piece string section (12 violins, 8 violas and 8 cellos) on 10 different tracks. We recorded the orchestra several times to achieve the multilayered arrangements that we had scored." They recorded the best of Bombay’s Indian classical musicians-including leading players of the sitar, sarangi, tabla, bansuri (wooden flute) and some memorable vocal performances.
As Hughes explains, "The great thing about Indian classical music is that it’s all about improvisation. With Western classical musicians, it’s sometimes hard to give them a melody and say, run with it. The vocal on “Feel,” by Rakesh Pandit, a young Bombay-based singer brought in by engineering legend Daman Sood was the best outcome.”
Bombay Dub Orchestra also includes a few pieces that share in the album’s more stark classical mood, but which offer a surprising contrast in sound. "Sonata" is, as the name implies, a piece in more of a Western classical mode, featuring Andrew T. Mackay’s piano. Even more striking is “Remembrance,” a lovely, sparse piano solo.
Hughes recalls, “My home is opposite an old church. Andrew went over one Sunday- it was Remembrance Day and the pastor’s theme was remembering the troops. He said that a lot of those people came from places like India and Africa and it was important to remember this when topics like immigration and racism come up. Andrew came back and wrote this piece.”