Translating from Hindi, Mela Ananda means “A gathering of bliss”. This is a rather fitting album title for the first live recording by Teutonic instrumental giants My Sleeping Karma in their ten year career. With MSK already receiving some pretty in depth coverage on this site already (Moksha album and subsequent interview with the band), little in the way of an introduction to these guys is needed… So let’s just get on with the show shall we?
Recorded in Paris back in 2016, the majority of the tracklisting centres around their latest studio album, ‘Moksha’, with several tracks being present, oddly enough, the title track of said release does not feature which in my opinion is a shame! The beauty of this release though, is the sound. Matching the same quality as that of their studio based recordings, it is almost like splitting hairs when it comes to finding differences. The only noticeable differences in terms of the audio is that the drums are a little more noticeable and powerful and the way the samples work in a live environment.
From the first bars of “Prithvi” to the closing moments of “Hymn 72”, there are ten tracks of mind bending, perception changing and all round incredible music. The hypnotic melodies and samples work in harmony, augmenting the effect the other has, utilizing the space in the tracks available to them so they give a well-rounded and fuller feel.
The warm basslines, hypnotic and complex drum patterns and droning riffs, heavily influenced by the Asian sub-continental region and middle eastern feel just flow freely with minimal fuss and the delivery is precise to the point of it sounding perfectly natural and delivered with feel as opposed to the clinical and sterile precision of how some bands deliver their live performances.
The familiarity of the Moksha release tracks is welcoming and the way they help distribute the other album tracks is a great way for new fans of the band to familiarise themselves with the band’s older work. Highlights include the fast paced, distorted groove in “Enigma 42”, “Glow 11” and its fantastic bassline, “Brahma” with that airy quality to it, bringing images of ‘Love’ era Cult and “Tamas” which could best be described as a rhythmic puzzle, much like any Tool track.
In all, this is a recording which shows that My Sleeping Karma can deliver the goods both on stage and in the studio. Whilst some instrumental bands suffer live, MSK manage to keep the crowd in the palm of their hand throughout the entire performance and this is reflected in the crowd’s reactions to certain spots within the tracks, in between tracks and of course, the band humbly thanking the fans before the last track kicks in and once again after it.
The only thing really stopping this album getting a higher score is purely down to the setlist. If it had a few different tracks on there, this could have easily got top marks.