Friday, December 2, 2011

Leftovers (Reproductions): Kashmir

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant: Kashmir


For our Reproductions theme, the idea was to post remakes of songs that rendered the original in a bigger arrangement. How can you do that with Kashmir? It’s a fair question, because the Led Zeppelin original already has a huge sound. Not only that, but the original Kashmir was an epic, clocking at 8:28, and going through some remarkable changes.

Led Zeppelin used to talk about how their sound was influenced by the music of the Arab world, and that was never clearer than in Kashmir. Still, 20 years later, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page reunited to create an album that revisited 13 of their songs from Led Zeppelin days, and made the Arab musical connection explicit. Here, Plant and Page are fronting a nine piece rock band, with instruments including mandolin and hurdy-gurdy. Add to that the string section from the London Metropolitan Orchestra. But the kicker is an ensemble of Egyptian musicians led by the great Hossam Ramzy. The album, No Quarter, is a record of a concert, and Kashmir was the grand finale. Now the song clocks at 12:23, and the extra time includes Egyptian percussion breaks. Amazingly, the sound is even bigger than the original version, and the song is even more of an epic than before. And yet, it doesn’t feel overdone at all. By this time, Robert Plant could no longer hit the highest notes that he was once famous for, but his voice still had all of the power he needed to pull this off.

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