Exposé Online banner

Garaj Mahal — More Mr Nice Guy
(Harmonized, 2010, CD)

Garaj Mahal & Fareed Haque — Discovery
(Moog Music 789106, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

More Mr Nice Guy Cover artDiscovery Cover art

Garaj Mahal takes some of the classic elements of 70s fusion and makes them work in today’s musical climate. While the music is sometimes on the funky side of rhythm, the jazz feel always wins out; there are also elements of world music and electronics. Guitarist Fareed Haque is half Pakistani and half Chilean, and has lived all around the world absorbing musical influences; he’s also an accomplished Classical guitarist, with several recordings in that field on his resume. Given his talents and credentials, he doesn’t surround himself with second-rate players, and Kai Eckhardt (bass), Eric Levy (keys) and Sean Rickman (drums) certainly fit right in, with the kind of casual virtuosity that works perfectly for this kind of music. It’s much more “feel” than “flash.” Probably my favorite track between these two is “Witch Doctor,” the opener of More Mr. Nice Guy, with its Indian feel and shifting time signatures. It’s followed by a brief electronic filler and then a track that’s a little like what Weather Report might have sounded like in 1975 if they’d had guitar instead of sax, with electric piano, wobbly synths and a great bass solo. Haque’s playing is impressive, whether he’s going for clean classic jazz tones, folky acoustic, crunchy distortion, or the farthest reaches of signal modification. There are even a couple of vocal tunes which, although they aren’t my favorite parts of the CD, feature the drummer’s soulful singing.

Discovery is a bit different, as it’s designed to feature the Moog guitar. There are several tracks that sound much like the band’s other material, but there are also a couple of guitar-only tracks (one improvisation and one Classical arrangement); in addition, there are four tracks assembled by Levy from individual sounds, phrases and so on from the others. The fact that these don’t stand out too much from the others is testament to both their basic diversity and Levy’s editing skill. Given how the keyboards and Moog guitar mix, it’s often difficult to identify what’s what. But it’s all good — definitely a band worth checking out.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Fareed Haque, Garaj Mahal

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Starcastle - Song of Times – The late bassist Gary Strater’s dream to create one more Starcastle record was realized in 2006 with help from his long time engineer friend Mark Rubel, along with old band members and friends. Many...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues