The tune “Seven and a Half,” is based on a tribal sounding drum rhythm that Smith came up with in 15/8, which South Indian musicians call 7 1/2. This drum theme, which Lockett doubles in perfect unison on the kanjira, reappears each time with an altered ending repeated three times before resolving to beat one, what the Indian musicians call a “tihai.”
Unfortunately, tunes written in odd times sometime contain mechanical grooves that never seem to rise above merely stating the “uneven” time signature. However, with Vital Information, this is clearly not the case — this tune grooves hard.
In fact, Smith and the band make the Indian concept of playing in 7 1/2 downright funky. They collectively accomplish this by playing through the “ones” and concentrating on their entire soloing statements instead of the exotic time signature. Note the scorching “rock-guitar” solo after Smith’s outrageous solo; it’s actually a synth solo by Coster!