Mera Bhai
Futureproofing
Moshi Moshi Records

Back in July, we reviewed Mera Bhai’s début single, ‘Jama El F’Na,’ which appears here in a different form.   This is his début ep, and it’s filled with the same fun-filled, sunny music, born out of Mera Bhai’s (Hindi for ‘My brother’, and the non-de-plume of Karthak Poduval) experience as a citizen of the world.  Born in London of Indian descent, he has also spent time Italy, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Algeria.  He’s a DJ/producer and multi-instrumentalist and a founding member of Flaminggods.

His raison d’être for the Mera Bhai project centred on creating a musical balance and harmony between eastern and western traditions, and melding the new with the old.  He draws in influences from Indian, Arabic, 70s disco, 90s Acid House and Detroit techno, amongst other things.  His experience as a child bouncing around the world means he was surrounded by all these sounds, and he reports that he is ‘just trying to weave the cultural line that I hear in music.’

Futureproofing opens with the pounding electronic bass drum of ‘Mañana Groove,’ before a the synthesized bass kicks in and we get a synthesized Bollywood horn and sampled voices.  The song takes a sample from Mr. Bongo, a close friend, and he says that ‘I wanted to take this tune that’s already in my DJ record bag to another dimension. it also gives a nod to one of my favourite anthems ‘Pacific State’ by 808 State, which frames summertime feels for me.’  Now me, I hadn’t thought of 808 State since sometime in 1994, so it’s nice to see the classics get some love.  But the other thing about this track, and the whole ep, in fact, is that I feel caught between all of Mera Bhai’s worldly influences and a dance floor in the late 80s/early 90s, with hints of New Order, Orbital, and the Orb filtering through.  He takes those older dance influences and melds them with his east meets west sound and we get something that is both new and exciting and also grounded in history.

I really like the title track, which is built up around pulsing bass and beat, and a very Orbital light synth over top and then we get a breakdown into Bollywood before the beat breaks back out and we’ve got vaguely Indian percussion and a Persian-sounding Punji.  But the driving bass, whatever the beat is doing here, makes this track.

‘You, Me, Us’ opens with an almost Andrew Weatherall-sounding percussion and features the English-Ghanian singer/songriter/DJ Andrew Ashong.  We even get some piano in this track which breaks down into an almost skittish sound.  And then we go right around for ‘Back Whenever,’ which sees the Afropunk futurist Alxndr London guest on vocals. His vaguely falsetto vocals, layered over the track draw on Erasure to a degree, but are all London.  This is a stunning track, in part for the music, but mostly for London’s vocals.

The ‘Bootleg’ version of ‘Jama El F’Na’ is epic, continuous bounce around that syncopated, processed sitar and vaguely Indian-sounding vocals.  As much as I loved the original mix, this is dope.  And then ep ends with a dub remix of ‘Mañana Groove,’ centred around the thick bassline and 80s Casio-sounding beat.

Taken altogether, after getting off Mera Bhai’s wonderful global trip through his music, all I can say, is ‘Please, sir, I’d like some more.’  I hit repeat.  You will be doing this too.