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All India Radio - Tuning In

Author: Ross Macumber
Monday, 28 July 2008
Melbourne act All India Radio have just released their sixth record, Fall, the first with a vocalist. 3D's Ross Macumber writes.

Named after the national broadcaster on the subcontinent, Melbourne based trip hop act All India Radio admit they have no connection with their namesake other than 'some kind of Indian-ish samples on the first couple of albums'. The name has in fact provided the band (which toured the US last year) a small share of hassles, as undisputed bandleader Martin Kennedy confesses.

'It just sounded like a good name at the time-but I've kind of regretted it actually 'cause I keep getting emails from people in India asking, you know, what time is this program and that program and yeah, they kind of keep emailing me,' he says. 'I've only got myself to blame though!'

Why exactly-

'Well, it was just me when I first started, so it was kind of a bedroom/solo thing. I'd just finished playing in a rock band and wanted to do something different - this was 1999/2000 [and] I was just listening to ambient kind of music and bands like the KLF, kind of dance bands as well as DJ Shadow and that sort of thing.'

After two albums as a one-man All India Radio 'band', Kennedy enlisted Mark Wendt on bass and Ben Sims on drums, progressing the group's sound to one more instrumental post-rock. For their latest album, the critically acclaimed Fall, Kennedy decided to drop the 'instrumental' part and bring in Leona Prue, whom he found in the street press classifieds. So did the addition of vocals dramatically change the songwriting dynamic-

'Yeah it did 'cause up until then I was really kind of the main guy, I wrote everything really, and so this time Leona and myself were equal writers: she writes all the lyrics and I wrote all the music.'

Garnering rave reviews within the Australian media, AIR have also had their share of questionable reviews from those that don't understand their sound.

'They're what I consider bad reviews,' Kennedy says. 'If they get it wrong they're usually negative about it. I think most people generally get it right. Some people hear different things and hear bands that I wouldn't have even considered or haven't even heard myself. That was the case years ago- people were saying we sounded like Boards of Canada and I hadn't even heard of them, to be honest, up until that point.

'Then I listened to them and I was like, 'Oh yeah OK, I guess it sounds a little bit like Boards of Canada. That was kinda good, I kind of learnt something from those reviews.'

WHO: All India Radio
WHAT: Fall through Inevitable/Vitamin / Play The Excelsior Hotel
WHEN: Out now / Thursday 25 September
MORE: myspace.com/allindiaradio
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