Mah-Ze-Tar will soon release his first album, Liquid Lotus. Originally scheduled to drop September 1, its release has been postponed and re-scheduled. However, the title track is available for streaming and download.
Initiated in 2015, Mah-Ze-Tar is the fusion project of Maz Karandish, whose vision comprehends the melding of Eastern music with contemporary electronic sounds as a form of cultural preservation. His goal is to introduce listeners to the past through the present.
The album comprises nine tracks, each embracing a particular Indian raga, as Karandish sings in Farsi, Hindi, and English, with sonic textures based on syllables of the Indian dhrupad tradition. His sound blends electronic music with time-honored instruments – sitar, oud, Turkish saz, dilruba, and bansuri – and Indian, Persian, flamenco, and Native American elements, along with the distinctive flavors of raga, maqam, dastgah, jazz, and opera.
“Liquid Lotus” opens with surreal mystical colors exuding from the sitar, as Maz’s chanting vocals float overhead, as if leading listeners into a numinous dimension. As the sitar oozes magical colors, a light pulse enters flowing into a dance-lite groove. The rhythmic throb of a bassline and percussion infuse the tune with smooth momentum.
Melodically, the tune is reminiscent of The Police, nuanced with textured energy and palpable harmonics. Even the lilt of Maz’s intonations exudes an elusive familiarity to Sting’s singing, only more transcendent. When the time signature slows, the tune eschews the dance feel, becoming dreamy with classical flavors underscoring the tantalizing timbres of the sitar. As the music drifts to the end, the sitar disappears, leaving only delicate surfacing strings.
The combination of dance music and Eastern music is deliciously gentle, yet buff enough to capture the Western proclivity for rhythmic pulsations. Maz’s deft touch and ability on the sitar produces a steel guitar-like ambience, allowing non-traditional listeners a sonic comfort zone.
“Liquid Lotus” is beautiful, a synthesis of harmonic imagination akin to an exchange between two diverse cultures and spiritual states.