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Chateau Benares

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Album Review

These East-West fusion projects can really go either way: it may have appealed to the better angels of listeners' natures when Ravi Shankar recorded with Yehudi Menuhin, but whether or not the musical result was really worth hearing is a separate, and more fraught, question. Guitarist Sanjay Mishra avoids most of the obvious potholes in the road to cultural harmony by not worrying too much about creating a musical fusion. Instead, he seems to be happy with an emulsion: a temporary mixture of unlike elements that adds up to a complex and exciting whole, without forcing any of the participants to pretend that they're something they aren't. Mishra himself is fully capable of jumping back and forth between classical, country, jazz, and rock guitar styles and then going off suddenly on flights of raga-derived Asian fancy before returning. But his accomplices on this album, who include turntablist DJ Logic, tabla player Samir Chatterjee, the brilliant flutist Steve Gorn, and veena player Barun Pal, mostly stick to their native idioms, and the result is a brilliant and multifaceted sound. Highlights include "A Different Morning," on which Mishra's Renaissance-inflected fingerpicked guitar blends surprisingly well with Pal's keening veena, and the equally brilliant "Logical Journey," on which the turntable is used as subtly and elegantly as you are likely ever to hear. "Raindrum" and "Mirror" are both just a bit static and uneventful, but even those tracks are quite enjoyable. Overall, this is a stunning album.

Customer Reviews

Sanjay's most expansive album yet

It's difficult to describe Sanjay's music being a blend of eastern and western influences because not only does Mishra work with rock and Indian tabla music but his command of western classical allows him to add a level of complexity that will tickle your sublime pleasure. Press the "Buy Album" button because listening to all of the songs will make you enjoy each individual one all the more. At times I hear the Grateful Dead, or The Beatles, or Back and DeBussy. DJ Logic's electronica addition only confirm the ties between classical music and electronica - the collaboration between the two results in a uniques piece (Logical Journey). "Mirror" is like Harold Budd and Brian Eno's romantic ambience. "The Bells Of Heaven Ring" sounds like a 70's New Wave exploration by David Byrne. As you can see, Sanjay's depth of musical styles allows him to create textures you won't hear in other artists. "Loop 4" is solid Mishra and old fans will dig the entire disk.


To me there is no thinking twice in buying Sanjay Mishra's work. My first encounter of Sanjay's work was Blue Incarnation, of which saying every song is a masterclass would be an understatement. Once again in Chateau Benares, he has worked on fine details to make the songs pleasing to hear. This album is different to Blue Incarnation in that it features more musical instruments, mixings, and electrical drum beats. What a musical talent!


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A native of Calcutta, India, Sanjay Mishra mixes instrumentation from both the Eastern and Western Hemisphere with modern rhythms. He has released several albums; Blue Incantation includes the guitar services...
Full Bio
Chateau Benares, Sanjay Mishra
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Customer Ratings