Project Mishram – Meso
If I say prog, chances are South Asia isn’t your first association with the subgenre. But if you think about it, the odd time signatures and diverse range of traditional instruments – people in India are born feeling the progressive groove naturally while most of the westerners have to specifically learn it.
So with that cultural premise it was only a matter of time for a band like the Bangalore- based Project Mishram (or just MishraM) to step up and add some spice to the scene. The name of the 7-piece project means “mix”, and boy do they live up to that name in their diverse debut album “Meso” (“Middle”), both musically and conceptually.
The album begins with the catchy ‘Sakura’ where the story of a girl unfolds, presumably the girl herself being named Sakura. All the seasons pass by as she observes from a distance in pain, both physical and emotional. For the most part the song carries the expected modern prog sound, but it takes a slight Carnatic turn towards the end, warming up the listener for the rest of the album.
After that, the short and sweet ‘spring’ brings you this light hearted feeling of walking amongst the freshly bloomed trees and getting gently kissed by the sun. The line “She jumps of joy” makes me think that this is possibly continuation of Sakura’s story and that by the next spring the girl is finally well and enjoying life again.
The walk is interrupted shortly after by the bombastic intro of Nivaasa, harshly contrasting to the previous track. Instead of that light electronic-driven melody, now we’re listening to this energetic blend of Carnatic music and jazz, featuring Arun Luthra on the sax, Nadje Noordhuis on the trumpet and Dion Tucker on the trombone. I love the strong percussions in this one, it adds another layer to the already colourful soundscape.
And now to my favourite – ‘Loco Coko’. The first time I’ve heard it, I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot through the entire thing. This track is so fun from beginning to end – it unites traditional Indian music, pure Djent, some EDM in the middle and rap to tell the confession of a caffeine addict. Very fitting for a bunch of grad tech students like MishraM themselves, if you ask me.
Project Mishram – Loco Coko (click here if the video doesn’t play)
‘Kanakana’ is a metal rearrangement of the classic 18th century Carnatic song Kanakanaruchira by Thyagaraja. You have probably heard this one, since it was the first single of the album and the memelord himself Kmac2021 is featured on it. This collaboration goes straight to my “We live in a simulation” folder, along with things like Elon Musk’s weird family and the recent Reddit stock market fiasco. In all seriousness, I love the modern heavier read of this centuries old traditional piece and I’m grateful to be born in the age where interesting media like this is accessible in one click.
Project MishraM – Kanakana (feat. Kmac2021) (click here if the video doesn’t play)
The final track on the record is ‘Mangalam’, which closes everything off once again with those unique Carnatic vocals, traditional melodies, fantastic rhythm and some beatbox for flavour. I might not fully understand the message behind this one, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating it.
‘Meso’ is exactly the culturally diverse, weird but not too avant-garde fusion album I’ve been craving for in a while and I can’t wait to hear what more MishraM has to offer. It also made me realise how limited my knowledge about India is and sparked some interest in their history and culture, hopefully it will have the same effect on you too.
- Nivaasa (ft. Arun Luthra, Nadje Noordhuis, Dion Tucker)
- Loco Coko
- Kanakana (ft. Kmac2021)