Agitated Atmosphere: Raajmahal – Raajmahal

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Raajmahal.

Pat Murano is busy. His myriad work as Decimus has spurred his label, Kelippah, to relevance. Decimus further served as a reminder of the varied talent that has graced No Neck Blues Band.

But Raajmahal is a different spirit animal. It speaks to the mystique world, one that rarely kisses Western culture. Much like the recent cassette, Celandine, Murano and the rest of Raajmahal dip themselves into Indian and Eastern spiritualism. The result is a self-titled LP that is awe-inspiring. The gentle caress of Carla Backer’s vocal chants and Murano’s careful guitar provide quiet contemplation.

“Perihelion” opens the album on a sensual note. It’s an elegant sweep of elongated whispers and lazy strums as we settle onto Raajmahal’s sturdy vessel for a long river ride. The heavy Indian sun is eclipsed by the heart of darkness on “Follow Me,” lulling us into the uneasy slumber of “Dreams.” The leisurely collision between East and West continues on the B-side, Backer and Murano playing off each other to such a degree that guitar and voice becomes one instrument; moments of “Orgone” become indistinguishable as the resonance builds into an aural drone of ambrosia.

Raajmahal just get it. There are no tricks other those the mood will play on your mind. It’s a daydream with few threats, though your Western mind will likely perceive it as so upon first listen. Fight the urge to crank it up or tune it out—the path to enlightenment is just a needle drop away.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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