Andrew T. Mackay and Garry Hughes formed Bombay Dub Orchestra nearly ten years ago after multiple visits to India. Both men loved their experiences working with Indian orchestras and decided to pursue their compositional skills by melding electronica and dub with orchestral textures. Three years of germination lead to their self-titled debut, released to great acclaim in 2006; two years later, their second full length album, 3 Cities hit the shelves.
Alongside their unique originals, Bombay Dub are renowned for their globally minded remixes, having reworked the songs of Bob Marley, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bebel Gilberto and many others. This worldly mentality continued as recording sessions for their new album, Tales From The Grand Bazaar saw them bouncing around the United States and London, through the Bombay and Delhi they know so well, as well as into Kingston, Jamaica to work alongside the legendary rhythm section of Sly & Robbie. Grand Bazaar also features some beautiful new Turkish musical flavors, due to prominent sessions in Istanbul which saw the group working with a Turkish orchestra, as well as renowned soloists from the region.
While Istanbul is a focal point for the new release, India is in no way forgotten. The duo’s greatest conceptual challenge was uniting their South Asian foundation with Turkish melodies. The challenge soon dissolved when they performed with their respective orchestras and the new album's sound came together beautifully.
What remains most provocative about Bombay Dub’s growing catalog is the imagery each song invokes: movements through medinas, riverside strolls, even the scent of the spice markets Hughes loves walking through. “The sense of the unexplored territory is always very exciting,” he says, explaining that while one moment can leave a last impression, capturing it properly can take many months of detailed studio work.
For Mackay, who likens the experience of this album to being in a kind of Paris, Texas scenario—the 1984 film co-written by playwright Sam Shepard—it is impossible to separate sound from picture. He’s spent a lifetime doing it, and along with Hughes, eloquently captures the beauty and struggle of an entire planet on Tales From the Grand Bazaar.
“Music creates something visual,” he says. “When you have a subject matter of a piece of music, you automatically start having visions. From the day I left music college, I was doing music to picture in some way; for both Garry and myself there has always been an integral connection between music and images.”