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Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar’s ‘Ragas Abhogi & Vardhani’ Is a Deep Journey

A new album unearths two Eighties performances from an essential raga explorer

Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar's 'Ragas Abhogi & Vardhani' Is A Deep Journey

The late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar performed slow, unraveling ragas on the rudra veena, a classical, low-register, double-gourd instrument that was eventually supplanted in popularity by the bass sitar. Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley – an enthusiast of both raw bootlegs and drones of all shapes – has unearthed two Eighties performances, releasing them on his Ideologic Organ imprint. This volume, splitting two ragas across two pieces of vinyl, has a closer feel and a deeper boom. You can hear what – I assume – are the creaks in the instrument’s body, as well as his own cough, as Dagar bends and journeys. 


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