Kala Rupa is a melodic exploration of rhythm, if you will. Percussionist Greg Ellis conceived and created a body of work in which the rhythms came first, and out of them were born the melodies. The beats and grooves dictated what would become each individual piece. And rather than title those pieces, Ellis numbered them as forms allowing the listener to enter each landscape with no signposts to pre-shape their experience. At once meditative, entrancing, sensual, and exhilarating, what emerges as Kala Rupa is fairly astonishing. Ellis avoids the pitfall of many percussionists, resisting the urge to overplay or show off his mastery, and he's all the better for it. Most of the album is instrumental, combining drums and other percussion from the world over with bansuri flute and cello. However, "Form 3" and "Form 6" feature the haunting vocal acrobatics of Azam Ali as the abstract interpreter of melody. Kala Rupa is simply a sonic feast (try listening through headphones) in the tradition of Peter Gabriel's Passion. Whether you have a mild, moderate, or unquenchable affinity for worldbeat, this is an album worth having. Its tastefulness makes it easily enjoyable, but digging through the layers of rhythm will provide hours of fun for even the most hardcore percussion enthusiasts.