The 7th and final album by Asian-dub pioneer Makyo sees a return to the Indian vibe of his earlier albums, with Hindustani vocals, bansuri, sarod, swarmandel and more floating above layers of shimmering synths and deep dub riddims.
"Mystic Fire" was recorded between 2010 and 2014, and like most of my albums, it came together when I noticed that I had a bunch of tracks done that flowed well together. I finished the final mixes in September 2014, literally days before I had an accident which (as some of you may have heard) permanently damaged my hearing and left me with severe neurological problems. Due to that accident, it's likely that this will be the final Makyo album; I'm glad I managed to finish it and I hope you've all enjoyed the ride.
And what a ride it's been. It's funny to think back to 1993 -- when this sort of music -- ethno-dub or world fusion or sampledelic or whatever you want to call it -- barely even existed. When I was working on my first few tracks, all I could hear were glimpses of the sound I was looking for, tracks from the likes of Bill Laswell, Dub Syndicate, Banco de Gaia, Loop Guru, and Transglobal Underground. Trying to find say, a sitar player, who would be willing or able to play over dub bass and programmed beats was next to impossible; the concept even was more than most people can handle. I'm glad to see that's changed over the years, and now I guess there's an entire generation of people out there doing cross-cultural fusion and it just seems like second nature.
In a sense, my final Makyo album feels very much like my first one, like I fell back into the same ideas as "Rasa Bhava": dub bass, slow-mo beats, spacey synths, and Indian/Asian vocals and instrumentation. Full circle, I guess. Tho' I do like to think that my dub mixing has gotten a bit better over the years! At any rate, this would probably have been the last Makyo album anyway, as I was channeling my creative energies into two new projects, Jinniyah and The Atmosphere Factory, both of which have albums that will be out soon.
The first thing to be recorded was "Mystic Fire", which started off as a piece for the live Makyo band, but when I had a chance to work with vocalist Shahin Badar -- whose voice I had fallen in love with ever since I heard her on Jah Wobble's track "Hayati" -- I quickly sent her a demo, and the vocal track was actually completed before the dub instrumental version on "Purnima". I gave Shahin complete freedom to write her vocal parts, and she blew me away with the results.
"Bayon Dub", "Flying", "Todaiji", and "Orion" were all composed for a planetarium film that explored the connection between sacred sites and space; Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, the Todaiji Temple in Nara, and the star Orion were the inspirations for each of these pieces; it was fantastic to compose to visuals for a change, and maybe you can hear the difference. "Eline" was written for an avant-garde dance performance by the group Tokyo Dolores; again, I tried to incorporate ideas of the actual sound space of the ocean into this piece. Finally, "Asato-Ma" was commissioned as a remix of an acoustic version of this mantra by Indian new age artist Shivoham; for whatever reason, this never wound up seeing the light of day, so here it is.
. : Like I said above, I continued to suffer from a completely disabling neurological / pain disorder, and also have to deal with severe tinnitus and hyperacusis in both ears. Barring some miracle, at this point it doesn't look like I'll be recording again. I am trying to fight this and recover, even though the odds are slim; if you have enjoyed my music over the years, and would like to hear some more, know that by supporting this album you are also helping me to get better.