Mela Comes Through With A Fun Experimental Jazz Album On "Mela Two"

Mela Comes Through With A Fun Experimental Jazz Album On "Mela Two"

Sometimes the best approach a creative can take with their art is just to throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks. The artistic mind often thrives most in an environment of pure spontaneity — when they throw all boundaries out the window and embrace the randomness that is the world at large.

That is exactly the sentiment I walked away with after listening to Mela’s second self-titled album, Mela Two. At 10 tracks and 33 minutes, Mela Two is a colorful and carefree experimental jazz album that thrives on its free-spirited aesthetic and diversity in sounds.

While most of this project falls inside of the jazz idiom, Mela shows that they aren’t afraid to mix and match sounds and grooves. There are some straight ahead jazz cuts on here, but there are also some tracks that venture into latin and light rock as well. While Mela Two doesn’t maintain a uniform sound throughout, the carefree atmosphere gives the band a lot of room for all of this experimentation to take place without succumbing to loss of focus.

The more traditional jazz tracks on this album are vibrant and offer a lot of variety. The opener, “For Such A Thing To Land,” is an invigorating start to the album. The percussion pushes the tempo forward while the piano and vibraphone performances are melodic and animated. “Horrible” is a chilled out number that swings super hard. The piano chords are simple and spacious while the bass playing is funky and irresistibly bluesy. The closer, “Waltz for a Memory,” is emotive and lighthearted. The piano intro borders on tearjerking while the vibraphone thrives in the simplicity of its motifs.

The latin songs add another layer to this album. “Good Ol’ Plan B” possesses a large degree of urgency with its driving percussion and fiery intensity between the band, an intensity which builds momentum towards the middle of the track. “The Strip” is a smooth bossa nova cut which contains some interesting use of counter rhythms between the vibraphone and drums.

The rock-oriented moments on here sound fantastic as well. “The Darker Side” sounds like something that would land on an early Pink Floyd album. Between the grumbling bass lines and spacey, ethereal aesthetic in the drums and piano, this song sounds stoned out of its mind. “Free Time” is an unsettling fusion of rock and funk. Mela shows true creativity in how they build up tension in this song, and how they release it to resolution.

There are even a couple of vocal cuts on here — and they also work well. “Nomad” is a playful ode to life on the road. It is perhaps the most innocent moment on the album — The vocals are sweet, the bass and drums are easygoing, and the piano is uplifting. “Pegasus” takes on the same happy-go-lucky tone, and the lyrics are startlingly poetic and rich with imagery.

There’s a lot going on on this album, but there also isn’t too much to take in. There is a lot of contrast in styles here between traditional swing cuts such as “Horrible” to Pink Floyd-esque spacey rock songs such as “The Darker Side.” However, given the seemingly nonchalant atmosphere and musical virtuosity of all parties involved, Mela Two is a project that is creative as it is adventurous; it is a fun and engaging listen. Mela Two is certainly one of the looser sounding albums I have heard this year, and and is a shining example that in 2019, Jazz is still a young persons’ genre.

Mela two is now streaming on all platforms.

 

 

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