Sanjay Mishra’s Chateau Benares
Chateau benares, the fifth CD by the Indo American guitarist, Sanjay Mishra is a lovely affair. Over the course of twelve tracks, Mishra brilliantly succeeds in creating a relaxing mood without ever slipping down into the New Age sentimentality that mars so many instrumental guitar albums.
Grateful Dead fans will remember Blue Incantation, Mishra’s debut that featured delicate and beautiful duets with Jerry Garcia. Released in 1995, the songs that Garcia contributed to on Blue Incantation represent some of his most inspired late period recorded work. For Mishra’s most recent release, the San Francisco native enlisted some of the finest artists from the local jam band scene to help him create a series of meditative explorations that quietly engage the listener.
Each of the pieces on chateau benares explores a different mood and compositional style so that tracks can be enjoyed in isolation, but taken as a whole the album is a seamless affair. It can be listened to quite pleasantly in the background, but – unlike many other albums in this genre – it can withstand careful listening at a high volume. There is a lot going on in the subtexts of the grooves, and some of the sounds that reveal themselves after repeated listenings allow the album to resonate with the listener at a deeper level.
It is difficult to choose a favourite track on chateau benares. In terms of sheer compositional beauty, the gateless gate, a duet with Keller Williams stands out and is absolutely sublime. Playing over a gentle tabla rhythm, the two guitarists play complementary textures that weave in and out of each other to create some of the most exquisite music I’ve heard this year. Others may prefer the layering and unconventional sounds contributed by DJ Logic on Logical Journey in which he mimics the tabla with scratches, drops and swoops from his turntable. Those who enjoy Indian classical music may find ‘the bells of heaven ring’ – a song elevated by barun pal’s sensitive veena (a more ancient model sitar) work – and ‘the lady with the flowers’ -with ethereal flute runs contributed by Steve Gorn – more to their liking.
Chateau benares is a wonderful album. Perfect music for early mornings and late evenings, it won’t be leaving my CD player any time soon.
This article originally appeared at www.restlessandreal.blogspot.com
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