Manimekhala EP – Sebastian Reynolds (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Not all music is made to satisfy the more everyday urges. Yes, we all like an uplifting tune whilst we get ready to go out on a Friday night, a catchy singalong on the jukebox at the bar or a rousing anthem to help us let off steam but as musical iceberg analogies go, that really is only a tip. Sebastian Reynolds has always worked with sounds which are generally found below the water line, part of that vast, less obvious bulk of music which is both totally necessary to keep things afloat yet which often takes some finding.

And that’s as it should be. Why be a throwaway dance tune when you can tap into something deeper rooted, more thoughtful and otherworldly. And that is exactly what this latest e.p is. Manimekhala is essentially 2 long pieces, and two remixes, of music which formed part of the recent Mahajanaka Dance Drama, a stage production which recently toured the UK to critical acclaim, and which saw Reynolds team up with trailblazing contemporary dance company Neon Dance, award winning Thai dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun and guest Cellist Anne Muller.

The result is a vibrant mix of traditional eastern sounds and western club beats, shimmering oriental sonic spice and occidental digital manipulations. Even away from the dance and visuals that it was designed to accompany, the drama and vibrancy of the music still makes an impact on the listener wandering from mediative solitudes to energetic eastern grooves, from timeless traditional sounds to euphoric dance floor beats, the perfect blend of east and west, then and now. And on reflection, although this musical score meets eclectic world dance salvo might seem slightly niche, by the time you are halfway through the second play you will probably be saying to yourself,“If nightclubs played music as cool and creative, energetic and energising as this, I probably would frequent them more often.” I know I did!

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