Ami Dang, an inventive sitar player and composer from Baltimore, recently phoned from Los Angeles where she was preparing for a handful of gigs, one of them booked to take place outdoors in the golden California sunshine. Imagining Dang’s expansive, prismatic music unfolding in a vast, bright space wasn’t all that difficult — and it sparked two wide-open questions about her recent work: How does it get made? How does it get heard?

Dang says that while recording her latest album, “Parted Plains,” she was forced to reverse-engineer her day job stress into a new creative strategy. “I was so energetically drained from this job,” she explains, “so I put some boundaries in place.” That meant she would compose the album’s plush electronic backdrops first, then improvise on her sitar overtop, tapping into her broad knowledge of Indian classical music and ambient drone, using the improvisational moment to measure her progress. “You have to make mistakes to get past them,” Dang says.

Now that the album — which Dang says was inspired by Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales — is finally circulating out in the world, what does she hope listeners might absorb from it?

AD
AD

“I very much have a John Cage attitude about it,” she says. “Whatever they want to feel, they should feel … There are definitely songs on the album that are sad, or intense, or cerebral, or upbeat-happy-go-lucky — and I think those feelings are implied. But if you want to use my music to meditate and calm down, cool. If you want to use it to wake up and get ready for your day, I’m into it.”

Then she remembers those upcoming shows. “The experience of listening to recorded music and going to a concert in real life are obviously different,” Dang says. “You can’t go to a live set and brush your teeth. Or maybe you can!”

Show: Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at RhizomeDC, 6950 Maple St. NW. rhizomedc.org. $10.

AD
AD