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Garaj Mahal: Discovery Garaj Mahal & Fareed Haque Present the Moog Guitar

Hailing from San Francisco, Garaj Mahal are a jazz four piece and if you are unfamiliar with the band and appreciate jazz, you really should get to know their music. In the band are Fareed Haque (Moog guitar), Eric Levy (electric pianos and Moog synthesizers), Kai Eckhardt (bass) and Sean Rickman (drums). All four musicians are virtuosos on their respective instruments so you can expect a very well played and professional recording. On Discovery Haque's Moog guitar work is simply outstanding and the sounds he is able to achieve are mind blowing. The band plays modern jazz with elements of funk, world music, rock, ambient, classical and electronic music.

"DC Swing" begins the CD with crisp drum beats and otherworldly electronic sounds soon to evolve into funky guitar rhythms and a pulsating bass groove. "Philly Electronic" is a short piece and is all Moog guitars featuring jazzy guitar runs and a Moog bass line. The album's longest song is the rocking jazz of "Never Give Up", opening with a nice jazz melody before heavy riffs take hold and capture the listener with their catchy rhythms. Eckhardt's funky bass and Levy's electric piano are exceptional and Haque rips it up with one of his heaviest solos on the CD making this one of the album's best tracks. The trippy "Sea To Sky" is another favourite. Complex patterns of rhythm guitar, crisp percussion, a wild synth solo and a repeating melody will have you coming back again and again. Space freaks will love "Artorius" where wild synths and Moog guitar weave through one another, all laid over a bed of electronic percussion making for one wild ride. At times I was reminded of Pink Floyd's "On the Run". Perhaps the album's prettiest tune is the laid back "Of A Simple Mind", where a lush background of synths provides the setting for Haque's eloquent guitar work.

This is an album that might take more than one or two listens to fully appreciate but trust me, it is well worth the time. Lots of interesting melodies and excellent musicianship make Discovery a quality listen and an album I highly recommend.

Track Listing:
1. DC Swing (3:38)
2. Philly Electronic (1:46)
3. Never Give Up (10:01)
4. Sea To Sky (5:59)
5. Make A Hippy Happy (9:41)
6. It Goes Up Your Nose (1:07)
7. Artorius (6:53)
8. Moog Improv # (2:47)
9. Largo from Concerto in D, RV 234 (3:19)
10. Of A Simple Mind (5:56)
11. Bobolink (6:35)
12. Round Midnight (2:51)

Added: April 23rd 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2294
Language: english

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Garaj Mahal: Discovery Garaj Mahal & Fareed Haque Present the Moog Guitar
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-04-22 19:22:44
My Score:

San Franscisco's Garaj Mahal throw a tiny curveball at their fans with this, their second release here in 2010, Discovery. This new one features the debut of the Moog guitar, and in the hands of Fareed Haque, you can imagine that there's some serious sounds to be heard coming through your speakers once you slap this puppy on.

There's plenty of enjoyable tunes to be found here, all highlighted by Haque's rock solid guitar licks and Moog guitar layerings. Coupled with keyboard master Eric Levy, the two, along with bassist Kai Eckhardt and drummer Sean 'The Rick' Rickman, tunes like "Never Give Up", "DC Swing", "Make A Hippy Happy", and "Artorius" bridge the gap between rock, fusion, ambient, jazz, and funk styles. There's a few shorter, more improvisational pieces here that have an ambient tone that seem more to highlight the capabilities of the Moog guitar than come across as actual songs, but they are an intriguing listen nontheless.

Overall, Discovery is just that, a band 'discovering' some new sounds and technologies, and while it's still a fun listen, this is not the focused Garaj Mahal we are used to, and the extended experimentation won't be for everyone. Of their two new releases, chalk up More Mr. Nice Guy as 'tried and true' Garaj Mahal, and Discovery as the band trying out some new tricks.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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