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Glass Beams takes you beyond borders with “Mahal”


Glass Beams, the Melbourne-based trio led by founder Rajan Silva, embarks on a musical journey that traces its roots to rekindling childhood memories and the cultural intersection experienced through his father’s eclectic music collection.

Donning jeweled masks on their faces, the band’s aesthetic and music create a visual and audible art piece that curates an immersive experience, an intriguing addition to the band’s air of mysteriousness. They never reveal what the masks mean, but in an interview with Rolling Stone India, they said their favorite fan interpretation of the masks is that they represent the mythological notion of Indra’s Net or a representation of an ego death.

Glass Beams’ self-produced works, exemplified in their debut EP Mirage (2021), blend live instrumentation with DIY electronica that takes sounds from creating a captivating synthesis of cultures with Western and Eastern influences via the bandmates’ Indian roots.

After a busy international touring schedule, Glass Beams is back with their latest EP, Mahal. Out digitally on March 22 and via vinyl on May 17 on Ninja Tune, Mahal comes in at 20 minutes, a short journey into a landscape of contemporary Indian sounds and heavy sitar instrumentation. Complete with a theatrical 40-second intro called “Horizon,” the title track, “Mahal,” has echoing vocal work set to the sounds of rich sitar and sparkly percussion pulsating throughout. Tracks like “Orb” use funky bass, sliding psychedelic synths, and Bollywood-inspired backing vocals that sound as cool as they do enigmatic.

“Snake Oil” comes in slightly slower with drippy strings and hypnotizing hi-hats. The last track, “Black Sand,” is the most upbeat of all the songs, with more upbeats, hi-hats, and rising and falling sitar chords that sound like they would be a part of the soundtrack of an exploitation film from the 70s.

Mahal is void of lyrics, but even under a half-hour, Glass Beams takes you on a metaphysical journey to the mysterious depths of the intersections between Western and Eastern music styles. Each note is a brushstroke on an aural canvas that paints vivid images that transcend linguistic boundaries. Glass Beams is an experience, and Mahal is one of the many you will go on.

Cover image by by Sulaiman Enayatzada

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