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Mala

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Mala
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Audio CD, March 12, 2013
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$11.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 17 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Devendra Banhart presents his Nonesuch debut, Mala. The singer/songwriter co-produced the record with his longtime bandmate, guitarist Noah Georgeson. Banhart's eighth studio album, Mala was recorded in his then-home in Los Angeles. He and Georgeson played most of the instruments themselves, using borrowed equipment and a vintage Tascam recorder they d found in a pawn shop. "A lot of early hip-hop had been made on [the Tascam], " says Banhart. "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. " It was a new approach for the pair. "In the past we were more like, let s use the oldest equipment we could find. "

Banhart also notes how his voice has developed over the years: "I don t really take care of my voice, but, just like with playing guitar, you get more familiar with it, and you get better at it. I ve always said that I m very good at not knowing how to play the guitar but, really, it s just that I m very comfortable with the utter uncertainty of my approach. " Banhart s previous release, 2009 s What Will We Be, received critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone calling it "the best he s ever made. " The Los Angeles Times said the record "found him making comfortable, laid-back folk that didn t sound like a compromise more like an artist growing into his own. "
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Digital Booklet: Mala
Digital Booklet: Mala
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00B2QG42O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,480 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The good news (other than the simple fact that Devendra has released new material, of course) is that nearly all of these 14 tracks do not stray far from the mood of songs like 'So Long Old Bean' or 'Bad Girl' both off 'Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon:' mellow Devendra. However, unlike both of those gems, all the songs on Mala have a more synthetic sound. At times, it's as if we've gone from the retro sounds of the early 70s (found on his previous three releases) to the popish-new wave sounds of the early 80s, here on Mala. On a song like 'Never Seen Such Good Things' this works real well. But on songs like 'Cristobal Risquez' and 'Hatchet Wound,' it doesn't: easily two of the worst Devendra songs since his first release, The Charles C. Leary (which has many). A part of the problem isn't so much about production but about songwriting. That said, minus five or so tracks, Mala is solid. "Won't You Come Home" has got to be one of the strongest, and captures this airy, breezy soundscape wonderfully. Lastly, thanks to all those at Nonesuch Records for allowing Devendra to keep it freaky on a good handful of songs: I, for one, prefer Taurobolium to Fur Hildegard von Bingen. Enjoy, Harper
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mala is great from start to finish,although for Devendra fans it's different. This represents Devendras first effort with a high level of production. It's not folksy by any stretch of the imagination. So hardcore Banhart fans might be disappointed,but give Mala a chance. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Devendra produced this album with the help of Noah Georgenson. They did a spectacular job,truly proffesional.He has really refined his lyrical abilities, the songs are twisted and fractured love debacles with a tinge of sadness. My favorite is (Fur Hildegard Von Bingen), other greats are opening cut (Golden Girls);,Never seen such good things(great wordplay), Cristobal Riquez (synthe sound straight from 80'sYaz), Hatchet wound (made me laugh out loud) and closing cut Tarobolium. I'm afraid the days of the Young god are long gone, this is the Devendra of the future enjoy it now!
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I purchased the vinyl version of this album which came with a bonus cd, an MP3 rip from amazon and a 7" vinyl single...and it is great! Mala is solid from start to end. If you listened to the 2010 release of What Will Be then you shouldn't be surprised by Mala. Devendra has come a long way since his days of Oh Me Oh My or Rejoicing in the Hands. Mala truly demostrates his growth as a man and his aspirations as a musician. It's too bad that most people slept on this album in 2013. Buy it...Hurry!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wouldn't call this album a step forward so much as a step to the side. The vibe remains the same, but the style has changed. Let me start by saying, I have always been a fan of Devendra Banhart. I love his take on freak folk, and there hasn't been a Devendra album I haven't enjoyed. His new album Mala is a little different from other albums he's done. The best way I can describe this album is to call it Devendra's dance album. This is not a pop or dance album in a traditional sense. It's Devendra's version of a dance album (if you need a label, we can call it freak dance). The chilled out vibe of a Devendra's other albums is still present on Mala. One of the charms of Devendra is that he has always been so willing to try out new styles of music, and he has a high success rate. In a sense, this album splits the difference of his other albums. Stylistically, it is probably the most consistent thing he's done. What I mean is that the album has a defining style, while his others albums have had quite a bit of variance. I've always liked that variance, but Devendra pulls off this new style very well. Even with the style change, I would say that Mala fits in very nicely with Devendra's last three releases. It still carries that more produced (at least for Devendra) and catchy sound that he has been growing into. I would highly recommend this album to any fan of Devendra's.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Devendra Banhart. I own most of his albums on Vinyl and CD. I have a deep appreciation for his unique sound, his tongue-in-cheeks lyrics, and the way he can go from playful and silly to soulful and deeply touching. That said, I wasn't a big fan of his last offering, What Will We Be. There were only a couple songs on that album I liked, and the best one, a sweetly sad song called "Pray For the Other Person's Happiness" was just a bonus track for vinyl buyers only. A big mistake, in my opinion. Mala is sort of a return to form for Devendra, at least for me. Yes, there were a couple tunes I just couldn't get into, but overall the album is a success. Several very enjoyable tracks, and I have played it through several times already. The vinyl offering includes a poster (meh) and a bonus 45, but only one of the bonus songs was enjoyable, in my opinion. But, hey, they were free! Sort of. Anyway, if you enjoyed some of his earlier work, pick up Mala. It is definitely worth the price of admission.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Different, yet the same... oh how I love this album. I have only had it two days and must have listened a dozen times already. With every new listen I love it even more and can hear the old Devendra coming through the new sounds. The flow is great... this will be my album of the summer!!! Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon is still my most fave Devendra but this one is pretty great too!!! Musical genius once again!!!
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Mala
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