January 5, 2018

S Balachander: Magic Music of India [World Pacific WP 1426] an LP recorded and released in the US in 1963

Here is a charming album which is one of several Indian LPs that the label World Pacific released in the very early 1960s to the mid-1970s. Richard Bock did a terrific job in finding excellent musicians to record and presenting them with taste. For the US recording industry, it would take Nonesuch Records in the early 1970s to match his brilliant output.

This LP features veena phenomenon Sundaram Balachander as well as guest N Ramani (a disciple of TR "Mali" Mahalingam) on flute.

This particular copy is in what I call "glorious mono" -- no soloist in one ear and percussion in the other. There is a balance and quiet honesty to the sound that makes perfect sense to me, unlike so many early stereo recordings. There is a good reason that so many mono LPs from the 1960s are highly sought-after by collectors (two examples: the Atlantic Records LPs by John Coltrane released in the years 1960-63 should only be listened to in the mono mix; the Beatles' albums up until the "White Album" were mixed by the band and George Martin in mono and left to a recording engineer to make the stereo mix, with predictable results).

Back in July of last year I posted a cassette by Balachander which is just as "magical" as this LP.

Side 1: 
Raga Simhendramadhyam in adi taal

Side 2: 
Raga Hindol in adi taal
Rhythm Duet in adi taal

S Balachander: veena 
N Ramani: venu (flute)
VG Ramabhadran: mridangam and ghatam
UK Sivaraman: mridangam
Natesan: Tampura

Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT440 mlb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct

(the highest resolution I am capable of recording)

(after decoding into wav, can be burned to a CD)

(highest quality compressed audio file)


  1. Wonderful - Thank you! I was enjoying your cassette rip of Carnatic Veena just last night. This is a great surprise.

  2. I'm so glad you are enjoying the transfers and listening to the music. That's why I'm doing this blog and it's always gratifying to hear from my readers. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for this and all your previous efforts and hard work. I agree with your comments about early stereo. I think the engineers felt pressure to have wide channel separation so that listeners new to stereo would hear the difference. I have this lp in stereo. I'll have to listen to see if it suffers from the "hole in the middle" syndrome.
    I have a fairly extensive collection of Indian, African, Ocora etc lps and the ability to do quality transfers, if there is any thing you are looking for, I might be able to help.
    Thanks again,

  4. When I became interested in Indian music, in 1967, I purchased several World Pacific LPs of Ravi Shankar's music. They were, among their other virtues, well produced and well pressed! You are right about Richard Bock's taste and production chops.