Mahal (LP)

 
Mahal (LP) cover
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Glass Beams
Mahal (LP)

[ Ninja Tune / LP ]

Release Date: Friday 17 May 2024

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The genesis for the Melbourne-based trio, which formed around founding member Rajan Silva, was through the rekindling of childhood memories relating to his father, who emigrated to Melbourne from India in the late 1970's. Silva recalled watching a DVD on repeat with his father; 'Concert for George', a star-studded tribute to late Beatles member George Harrison performed at London's Royal Albert Hall in 2002, featuring legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar with daughter Anoushka, alongside Western icons Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and ELO's Jeff Lynne. This intersection of musical styles was reflected in the record collection of Silva's father, where the sounds of iconic Bollywood vocalists Asha Bhosle and the Mangeshkar lineage sat alongside music from blues legends like B.B. King and Muddy Waters. In particular, Silva was drawn to the fusion of Western musical styles and traditional Indian music; a concept pioneered by Indian artists like R.D. Burman, Ananda Shankar, and fraternal duo Kalyanji-Anandji.

Creating a sense of mystery is one of the oldest tricks in the music business. Daft Punk, SBTRKT and, more recently, Two Shell - acts known for covering their faces and keeping fans guessing - are all examples of it working successfully. It has certainly helped create buzz around Glass Beams, a psychedelic trio from Melbourne, Australia, who play in ornate gold masks. No one knew who they were until late last year, when founding member Rajan Silva put his name to the project in an interview in Rolling Stone India. Still, they remain elusive, and the other members have so far not been identified.

The group began during lockdown and released their debut EP, Mirage, in 2021, described as "a love letter" to Rajan's Indian heritage. New five-track EP Mahal is a continuation of this style, which lilts along beautifully. With no obvious lyrics or samples, just textural sounds, the result is experimental, hypnotic and jam-based, melding the melodic tinge of traditional Indian music with Aussie surf rock. The title track is a big tune with a memorable guitar line. Orb is funkier, starting off laid-back before snowballing into an increasingly propulsive rhythm.

With only a few tracks to their name, Glass Beams already have sold-out shows, a rapidly growing social media following and 1.1 million monthly Spotify listeners. With music this good, anonymity is just a part of the appeal.

- The Guardian

Tracks:

A1 Horizon 0:42
A2 Mahal 3:21
A3 Orb 4:54
B1 Snake Oil 4:55
B2 Black Sand

View the trailer (via YouTube)