Sebastian Reynolds – Mahajanaka

Mahajanaka is the debut release by Oxford based producer and multi-instrumentalist Sebastian Reynolds. Mahajanaka is based around sampled loops of performances by the Thai pop band the Krajidrid Band, performing piphat musical repertoire under the direction of composer and producer Pradit Saengkrai, recorded with engineer Kijjasak Triyanond at Pollen Sound Studios in Bangkok. The recording session took place during a British Council/Arts Council England funded research trip to Thailand in May 2016. The research trip was to inform the development of Mahajanaka Dance Drama, a project in collaboration with trailblazing contemporary dance company Neon Dance and acclaimed dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun to create a new dance and music stage work that fuses Thai traditional forms with western contemporary dance and music, telling the story of Mahajanaka, a story from the Jataka mythology, one of the oldest and largest collections of stories surviving in the world.

The Jatakas tell the stories of the Buddha to be (the Boddhisatta) in his previous lives, as he perfects himself in order to be able to become enlightened in his final life, and then to be able to teach the way for those ready to follow. The track Mahajanaka is a first taste of the work in progress score that Sebastian is currently researching and developing. The piece features keyboard parts performed by Sebastian’s long time musical collaborator Jody Prewett, formerly of Trophy Wife. It was mixed with Mike Bannard at The Aviary in Oxford, and mastered by Martyn Heyne at Lichte Studios in Berlin.

The cover art is a detail from a photo of a mural depicting Mahajanaka at Molilokayaram Temple in Bangkok. Photograph by Arthid Sheravanichkul.

Inspiration for the track has come from Sebastian immersing himself in Thai Buddhist chanting and various forms of traditional Thai and Asian folk and court music, as well as the work of the great, now sadly deceased Japanese DJ turned producer Susumu Yokota, an artist famed for his mastery of sonic sculpture, and his ability to effortlessly fuse Asian traditional instrumentation with electronica and manipulated samples. The track evokes some of the adventures of the hero Mahajanaka, particularly his epic swim in the ocean for 7 days and 7 nights.

Mahajanaka is being released as part of the fundraising appeal to raise funds for a workshop residency planned for October 2016, when the creative team are planning to bring Thai dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun to the UK to work with Adrienne Hart (Neon Dance) and Sebastian Reynolds to start to develop the Dance Drama work.

Aside from his band Flights of Helios Sebastian has, as a remixer, session musician and producer worked with a wide spread of musicians and artists, from producing tracks with ex Slit Viv Albertine, to remixing and guesting with alt-folk band Stornoway and forming and leading pioneering, cult ensembles Braindead Collective and Keyboard Choir Sebastian has a rich history of musical innovation and experimentation across many genres of music. He is in the final stages of completing his debut solo albums Remembrance and Epiphany, with news of the release plans to follow.

  • Released 16th Sept 2016

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