Joel Segel

  • Water Lily Acoustics

    Disgusted by cheap recordings of classical Indian masters, Kavichandran Alexander, proprietor of the tiny, Santa Barbara-based label WATER LILY ACOUSTICS, wondered how musicians could be satisfied with the compressed, equalized, noise-gated, digitized, doctored product that was their sole sonic legacy to the future. So the Tamil entrepreneur founded Water Lily to record them himself—in a church, not a studio, using custom-built analog equipment, with no sound effects, no mixdown, and no overdubs. His first release was Ali Akbar Khan, whose stature among Hindustani musicians rivals that of Ravi

  • Klezmatics

    I first heard the KLEZMATICS’ Rhythm + Jews (Flying Fish) over breakfast with five gay men in a purple-painted pad on Haight-Ashbury. Track one featured demonic yells and an Arab drum, track two a medley of “NY Psycho Freylekhs”—Imagine “Hava Nagila” in overdrive. The third track was a tender love song to “feygele mayn,” “my little bird” in Yiddish. Feygele is also slang for homosexual, my first inkling as to why the Haight-Ashbury house drank in the Klezmatics with their morning coffee.

    The name of their first album, Shvaygn=Toyt (Piranha), rendered the ACT UP slogan “Silence=Death” in Yiddish.

  • Nusrat Ali Khan

    Why is Pakistan’s premiere Sufi singer presiding over Hollywood executions? NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN moans over Jesus as the Nazarene bears his cross through Jerusalem in The Last Temptation of Christ. The same smoky voice soars in Dead Man Walking while six syringes are pumping the state’s revenge into a man spread-eagled on a black prison table. The murderer stares through glass at the nun who promised the truth would set him free, and that she’d be “the face of love” for him in his final moment. Scenes of the murder flash. Nusrat, the voice of mystic Islam, howls. If Pakistan is less of a