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Devendra Banhart's Mala | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

Devendra Banhart's Mala

Devendra Banhart’s smooth and fresh sound is back again on his new release Mala. Following the success of his last album ‘What Will We Be’, ‘Mala’ marks Banhart’s eighth album, recorded in his then hometown of Los Angeles. The album was co-produced with band-mate Noah Georgeson, with the duo playing and recording the instruments on the album themselves, allowing for the more intimate and earthy sound of the album, a sound that has very much become Banhart’s own. The album itself was recorded on a piece found in an old pawn shop, which had been used originally to record hip-hop music. ““And knowing my songs are not hip-hop whatsoever, we thought it would be interesting to see how these kinds of songs would sound on equipment that was used to record our favorite rap. Let’s see how this technology would work for us,” Banhart said. Mala starts out slow and earthy with his track ‘Golden Girls’, marking the album’s easy and unobtrusive sound. Banhart’s funk-meets-folk sound is very much at play throughout the album, seen on tracks like ‘Never Seen Such Good Things’. Easy-listening instrumentals like ‘The Ballad of Keenan Milton’ break up the album, allowing diversity to ‘Mala’ and prevent the easy-going vocals from becoming too stagnant in an otherwise tranquil album. Banhart, who grew up partly in Caracas, Venezuela also has featured some Spanish-influenced tracks on his new album. His track ‘Mi Negrita’ features a steady beat and Spanish lyrics, allowing for a greater fluidity and sound, which is a constant sound throughout the album. Mala stays true to Banhart’s well-loved sound, but retains a certain freshness which remains unique and distinctive. The album is smooth and relaxed, making it the perfect sound for a relaxing summer’s day.

Writer: Bronte Kelso-Marsh
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