Saptak – Eternal Flight
Saptak is the new offering from Pakistan’s premier music group, the Mekaal Hasan Band. Coming as it does after their highly successful debut album Sampooran, the new body of work is ample testimony to MHB’s high quality and commitment to this difficult path of taking the best of two disparate elements and fusing them into one memorable musical outpouring.
Mekaal Hasan, the spirit behind MHB’s success, has long believed that fusion cannot be simply mixing eastern instruments with western or singing eastern melodies against a jazz-rock setting. True fusion requires an in-depth and serious study of the two streams, an understanding of what makes them whole and of then merging, blending and fusing the two so that what appears is not a mixture but music of strong identity. It is this spirit that has driven the band to seek new avenues in a field maligned by those who have maintained a shallow understanding of the music involved.
Where Sampooran was mysterious and haunting, Saptak soars with an uplifted mood that makes it at once brighter, daring and inspiring. The album features the work of Bulleh Shah, the mystic poet whose work is beginning to inspire a new generation, Shah Hussain and the poetess Amrita Pretam along with bandishes that flow down to us from the great musical exponents of the South Asian subcontinent. Each musical journey is magical, made memorable by the strong bass lines laid down by Amir Azhar, with breathtaking solo flights from Mohammad Ahsan’s flutes, Javed Bashir’s fiery and heart stopping vocal renditions and amidst all this, Mekaal’s deft and musically inspiring touches of guitars drifting in and out of the melodies, panning effortlessly from side to side and creating a unique atmosphere of musical excellence. Against this formidable quartet, John Louis Pinto and British percussionist Pete Lockett, weave their magic and provide just the right rhythmic drive that makes Saptak an album that tempts repeated listening at many levels.
Saptak means the completion of the 12 notes of the musical scale with it's Western equivalent being the musical octave. It is apparent that this unique album from the Mekaal Hasan Band is destined to go up and up.