I remember writing about 2 Trains, a previous musical outpouring from the Mahamaya Experience, and musing that there was nothing I could think of that would make a useful reference point for the music. Little came to mind, then or since, that I could point to that would act as a signpost to help readers turn mere words into something that they might better understand. Well, today, I have found that reference point that had long eluded me. The fact that it is another piece of music by the same artist underlines the point I was making in the first place. It’s official, Mahamaya Experience is like nothing else you might have heard.
This time out, the music comes in the form of a thirteen-minute demo/showreel, a collection of ever-changing sounds and styles, loose jams and neat progressions, and fluid and changeable music which ebbs and flows in exciting and unexpected ways.
But the one thing that all the music is based on is a sense of place. Combining the gorgeous and graceful sounds of South and South East Asia, sitars and guitars flowing over the vibrant rhythms associated with such a place and then taking such sounds far beyond their natural home to create a sound that exists where east meets west, where the music of the occident and the orient combine, clash, complement and create. In short, across these thirteen exciting and entertaining minutes, you will hear the echos of all music from traditional and classical sounds to pop to rock to folk…it is all in there somewhere.
We are eased in by music which is very evocative of the land that Mahamaya hails from, the perfect place to start this fascinating odyssey. But, having given us a firm footing, the music quickly fades to be replaced by something more frantic and folky, a hybrid of western roots and eastern experimentation. This, in turn, is subsumed by sweet and sensual vocals, gently forming ambient music into ethereal pop music, although the term pop music doesn’t do justice to the deftness and delicacy of the piece.
And so it goes on. Adventurous and dexterous jams bleed into heavy rock salvos, replaced by western-sounding ballads and ornate sitar tunes soaked in otherworldly vocals. There is room for spacious playing and intricate noise walls; the dynamics shift from the lulling and the low to the crashing and crescendo seeking, from music for quiet contemplation to energetic and euphoric dance numbers.
It isn’t too much of a hyperbole to say that Mahamay Experience is a place where worlds meet. Not just the geographical ones mentioned earlier but those of genre and generation. Musical styles, sounds and even eras come and go, and behind the music are philosophies and ideas to be found and thought about. Even at its most vibrant, the music is thoughtful and meditative; it invites you to consider the place of greed and ego in the world and confront them.
The term Mahamaya comes from the idea of one being seeped in illusion, perhaps someone who believes that their own happiness can only come through the manipulation and control of others. The music made under this self-deprecating name is here to help confront and eradicate such notions.
But of course, if you just want to take the music at face value, and enjoy it for purely aesthetic reasons, then you can do that too. It will be the singularly most unique, exciting and challenging music you have ever heard…at least until their next release.