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News |  11 Aug 2020 23:42 |  By RnMTeam

Frankfurt's Max Clouth Clan are now Ragawerk

MUMBAI: The "Weltenvereiner" *combiner of worlds* (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) Max Clouth Clan, a German music collective known for blending Jazz and Indian music are now Ragawerk.

The bands’ name change to Ragawerk mirrors their musical influences from both Germany and India - Indian ragas and the German word ‘werk’ meaning work or factory. The name Ragawerk also brings an emphasis on the collective; the artists share a vision of creating music where the steady process of reorientation draws listeners into spheres of soundscapes that bridge influences and contexts. The group’s music ultimately develops organically from the artists’ interactions, which is why everyone’s ideas contribute significantly to the final form of the pieces.

Why move in just one world when you can be at home in many?
The name change comes with the release of the collectives’ new jazz-fusion track named Face In The Sky - inspired by a dream, recorded in New Delhi and Kolkata during their last India tour in December 2019. Jazz, ragas and electronic sounds merge into music like a road trip inside our mind, resembling the soundtrack of a film, which only exists in imagination. Western and Indian influences merge into a characteristic sound, while the band combines sophisticated structures with expressive improvisations, cinematic soundscapes, striking themes and stirring rhythms.

Face In The Sky’s video, shot by filmmaker Niklas Doka, opens with a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda, one of India’s most prominent yogis. Kolkata-based artist Abhisek Mallick joins the collective on the sitar. The incorporation of sitar lends to a unique West-East merging, transfer and fusion of sounds, characteristic of the collectives’ musical vision. Jazz as interpreted by Ragawerk is richly layered and influenced by a multitude of styles that it ultimately escapes categorization.

The Indian subcontinent has long been a second home for guitarist and composer, Max Clouth. From 2009 to 2012, he studied the secrets of Indian ragas in Mumbai. His trademark double-neck guitars developed with luthier Philipp Neumann are based on oriental and Indian string instruments such as Oud or Sarod. In 2012, Max returned to Germany and formed a band with Frankfurt-based drummer Martin Standke. Together, they set out to realize Max’s vision of a sound that transcends European and Indian Music. Ragawerk draws on the achievements of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Max is known for having developed and mastered the Indian jazz guitar style of music, which incorporates Indian techniques when playing guitar. Drummer Martin Standke brings European Jazz aesthetics and electronic sounds into the band.

“The thing that fascinates us is that the underlying musical laws of Indian Classical Music are not much different from Jazz. But the sound and how you play the music make all the difference”, said Max Clouth.

After their debut record “Return Flight” (2015) the band received the jazz award of the City of Frankfurt in 2017. In 2018 followed Kamaloka (a term from Sanskrit, literally translating to “place of desire”), in which two Indian singers, a tabla player and three strings complement the quartet line-up. “Studio Konzert” (2019) – vinyl only – was recorded live at the legendary Bauer Studios, featuring a string section and electronic artist Kabuki on modular synthesizer.

Over the years, the band has toured extensively in Germany and India, having performed at the Jazzfest Brandenburg, Palmengarten Jazz Festival - Frankfurt, Giants of Jazz Festival - New Delhi and the Goethe Institutes in Chennai, Trivandrum and Hyderabad, among other venues. Ragawerk, formerly, Max Clouth Clan last toured Indian cities New Delhi, Kolkata, and Hyderabad in December 2019.