Mixtaped Monk – Tales From A Distant Galaxy.

“Tales From A Distant Galaxy” is the fourth release from India’s Arka Sengupta. Following on from “Soundtrack to your own Fantasy” Sengupta, was influenced by a (imaginary) sci-fi story to construct his music. He is joined by the prolific Cousin Silas on the second last track.

“In A Galaxy Far Away” features some sort of string instrument, drones, backwards cut up sections that act like a percussive element and give it a constant a loop based feel. It feels more like a form of Asian classical music than standard ambient fare and straight away the quality of sound, mixing and mastering is already noticed.

“Quest For Nebula” the use of backward sounds return alongside a collection of oscillating drones and presumably sitar recordings which start to become looped alongside the trip hop like beat and baseline. The Sitar, if it is this instrument, has a percussive and hypnotic feel to it as the music circles around the listener. The beats change pace which allows the music to change into the next movement which at times includes faster played sitar.

“Dreams of Snow” waves of ambience and looped sections of strummed Sitar make up this track, which coming after the two openers, is lacking in some extra variety to it.

“Discovery Delight” beats brought on by swirling synths are joined by sections of similarly swirling affected sitar playing. This takes the first third of the track before the playing changes to a more urgent section before returning to the beginning motif which is in the space rock variety. Again the music returns the more urgent section before a section of keys/chimes adds a melodic section and the track returns to the beginning for one last time.

“Warped Reality” fuses guitar with horns, beats with all the sound sources as if they have been put through pedals of some sort. A clipped ambient sounding guitar section starts to dominate with swirling synths and the beats become more repetitive with a simple beat.

“Before Genesis” warping synths with clipped backwards sections reveal the first true sci-fi like ambient track. The music feels like it has a travelling, searching sound as if going out into space. There is a mixture of lighter ambient tones and those that are slightly darker, but nowhere near dark ambient in nature. While the majority appears to be built from synths there are snatches of guitar pieces woven in which adds an extra element to this largely fluid piece.

“Inside Insanity” with Cousin Silas is more of a prog rock meets ambient with muted beats, cosmic fiery synths and Silas’ guitar sound that is very ‘Fripp and Eno’-ish. The music soars over a humming bass line with beats that go slightly in and out of focus. The guitar lines are paired with acoustic lines and synths that seem to be heading in different (sonic) directions to those of the guitars.

“A New Dawn” similar to “Before Genesis” in its Ambient Sci Fi feel, the guitar is slightly more prominent way with delicate picking with an Asian feel (like the way the kalimba can sound). The ambiance is soaring with several layers of fractured sound. One layer gives a rhythm , while another has a more rippling effect to it.

There is musical diversity on show in this release and you can see that Sengupta has knowledge of how to construct the pieces, although a couple wander a bit here, but with further releases and more time spent on his music you can see him refining it more and it becoming more polished. In the meantime the releases will allow you to watch him develop more.

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