'Holy Science', the debut outing from Amirtha Kidambi and her New York based quartet The Elder Ones, is a work of dazzling singularity. Delicately yet unashamedly divulging its complex network of influences at every turn, 'Holy Science' simultaneously disperses of boundary and limitation, emerging as an album steeped in tradition yet located firmly in the futuristic present.
Amirtha Kidambi, the Elder Ones' leader, composer and vocalist, was a child of South Indian heritage, and she grew up immersed in the tradition of devotional singing, joining in with free-form, improvised Bhajans on regular Sundays. She began simultaneously accompanying her voice with the harmonium from the age of three. These formative experiences continued to instruct and merge with her ongoing musical explorations as she went on to study Classical music, all the while ingesting the Punk, R&B and Rap that surrounded her. A particularly significant discovery was that of free and avant jazz, and in particular the music of Alice and John Coltrane, in whom Kidambi found clear echoes and parallels with those Bhajans and Ragas of her earliest musical awakenings.
'Holy Science' is a work underpinned by traditions, be they the Bhajan spirituals, or the Jazz and Classical avant gardes, that are in their own manner, archetypal.