The Bodhisattwa Trio, Mimika Orchestra: Frontier

Indian trio and Croatian orchestra retread the mixture of jazz-fusion, free-form and vaguely classical music first broached in the 1960s

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The Bodhisattwa Trio is an Indian modern jazz trio which here collaborates with the Croatian Mimika Orchestra on a concept album with a science-fiction theme. A small comic-strip book, written by guitarist Bodhisattwa Ghosh, came with the disc, outlining the story of three astronauts who escape conflict and turmoil on earth and set off on a post-apocalyptic voyage.

The music represents recordings that “survived across dimensions” and which reflect the situations associated with space travel: sustaining an existence, dealing with external gravitational pulls, asteroid belts, technical difficulties and redefinition of human understanding.

It’s largely jazz-fusion mixed with free-form and vaguely classical passages, at times bringing to mind the crossover experiments of late 60s bands. The flattened drum sound and the dominant electric guitar and bass give it a rock-orientated feel, although this is mixed with well-arranged and powerful brass passages and improvised interludes. The occasional horn solo is briefly thrown in – Vojkan Jocić’s tenor, after Ghosh’s wah-wah guitar break on Ghosts Of Mars, stands out; altoist Miha Gyoerek makes his presence felt on Nuclear Apocalypse, with its traditional Indian flavour, as does trumpeter Zvonimir Bajević on The Experiment.

There’s a continual juxtaposition of sound – guitar licks segue into freer, chaotic passages, then weather the storm into calmness, occasionally portrayed by acoustic piano of Arunava Chatterjee, as on Lunar Month. The turbulent Jupiter: Collision Course transforms into the serenity of Free Float.

Ghosh’s guitar is the main presence but the synthesizer is never far away, from computer-like bleeps, buzzes and whirring to its wide-textured brush and the subsequent fragmentation implying the vastness of the outer limits. The press release and online notes are unclear whether keyboards are by Chatterjee or Shonai.

Of course, the story ends with a utopian vision as the voyagers find a new home with a friendly (fortunately) advanced civilisation, “Earth X”. A meeting with Elon Musk in his SpaceX Starship? Cosmic.


Discography
Nuclear Apocalypse; The Experiment; Lunar Month; Ghosts Of Mars; Jupiter: Collision Course And Free Float; Europa Swim; Countergenesis; Spectral Stretch; Novum Iter; Final Frontier; Earth X (73.07)
Bodhisattwa Ghosh (elg); Premjit Dutta (d, elec, pc); Arunava Chatterjee, Shonai (p, kyb, syn b); Nika Bauman (f): Miha Gyoerek (ss, as); Vojkan Jocić (ts); Marko Gudelj (bar); Zvonimir Bajević (t); Luka Žužić (tb); Joe Kaplowitz (tu). Croatia. October 2022.
Intek Music INT2372