The Mandolin Prakash Project – Music Review (Carnatic Fusion Album)

mandolin prakash project posterSongs can be streamed and bought here (proceeds from the album sale go to Chennai flood relief).

Prakash Hariharan presents a shorter version of the Mandolin Srinivas tribute he has played in the past with his band Project Yuj in the track called Miracle. The track is apparently the cover of a live jam piece between Srinivas and Michael Brook (guitarist-composer with whom Srinivas released the album Dream in 1995) he heard long back. No clue how the original sounded (there seems to be no online version), but the cover is largely about Prakash’s mandolin that steadily builds up to a frenzy against a constant, sombre synth-based backdrop. The Buddha Experience keeps pretty much alternating between two extremes in terms of sound – the meditative Om Mani Padme Hum bit sung by B Prasanna and carnatic-rock portion that has Prakash playing electric guitars and mandolin. The transition isn’t always smooth, but the fusion surely is engaging. Prakash’s tribute to Singapore City titled Siru Poovil (an older track in fact) sounds very filmy, particularly so with Karky’s lyrics that incorporates names of places and brands. It does however make for a nice listen, with its breezy bossa nova-tinged base and the singing by Karthik, Sarvatha, Janani and Aishwarya. Maya is the album’s weakest track; the only standout bit amidst the dated synth + gita chant combination is the brief mandolin solo. The album also contains three short jingles. The Feeling has the composer displaying his adeptness with the nylon guitar in a nice, feel-good piece. Funkernatic (programmed by composer Nivas K Prasanna) could make for a nice ringtone, with its cheery 50 second burst of Kharaharapriya (I think) on the mandolin. Jog is a rather inexplicable inclusion; at four seconds, it barely even registers! The longest track of the album is also its best – Prakash goes pure Carnatic with his rendition of the vanaspathi raga based composition Ariya Immanida with just Sriram Natarajan’s mridangam for support, and produces a fine rendition.

The Mandolin Prakash Project. The motley collection of Prakash Hariharan’s unreleased and previously released tracks is an engaging one.

Top Recos: Ariya Immanida, Miracle, Siru Poovil