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Guitarist-composer Bodhisattwa Ghosh on Frontier — A Graphic Tale

'A comic book to accompany the music will give the listener a complete experience and give the music another perspective to engage a listener at a deeper and more intricate level'

Arindam Chatterjee | Published 29.05.23, 09:48 AM
The cover of the comic book 

The cover of the comic book 

Sourced by the correspondent

Experimental jazz fusion/avant-garde band The Bodhisattwa Trio’s fourth studio album Frontier is a one-of-a-kind Indo-Croatian modern jazz collaboration with the critically acclaimed jazz ensemble Mimika Orchestra from Zagreb, Croatia. Frontier, which is streaming on all major audio platforms, is a concept album that crosses the barriers of genres and stereotypes and aims at telling a unique story across space and time. On June 4 the band is all set to launch a 24-page comic book called Frontier — A Graphic Tale. A t2 chat with Bodhisattwa.

The album Frontier dropped recently. How is the response so far?


The response has been very good and inspiring actually. There has been a significant amount of streams on Spotify and other platforms compared to our previous works. It’s only a matter of time before the songs get playlisted in the appropriate areas internationally. We are hoping for the best and working on promotional campaigns at every step. This album will be here for the long run I believe.

What’s been the favourite compliment that you have received?

From quite a few sources, the best compliment that I have received is that this is an unprecedented piece of work. Nothing like this has ever been done before and this is a totally new sound. You can’t compare this with any other pre-existing form of music. Also, I have been told that this is the most ambitious international project that has ever come out of India in the sphere of Improvised music (non-traditional).

The Bodhisattwa Trio

The Bodhisattwa Trio

How are musicians responding to the album?

A lot of musicians have been sharing the album on social media on both sides of the globe. They find it very inspiring, and that inspires me as well and touches me deeply. I believe that all of us involved in Frontier have worked very hard on this project and contributed to the realm of music internationally in a meaningful way.

I have always challenged myself as a musician and I always push myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to music. With this new sound that we created with Mimika, it was a completely unknown territory for me, and I had to search deep within my mind to do justice to the project. Conceptually, the album is a travel from Earth into deep space, and personally, it is a travel from what I know into the deep space in my mind, where I have to search my soul and get inspired to create something new which will reflect upon the music that I create and play.

Are you planning a tour to promote the album?

Yes, we are. As of now, we have a three-week-long tour lined up in Europe coming up in June-July 2023. The official launch concert with the full line-up featuring Mimika Orchestra will take place on July 8 at Fest Jazza International Jazz Festival in Koprivnica, Croatia, where we will perform the whole album from start to finish. Prior to that, we have concerts lined up in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (Zagreb). Later, we plan to bring Mimika Orchestra to India in early December 2023 for an extensive tour of the country, and then we plan to tour all over Europe and the UK with the whole team in fall 2024.

You are all set to launch Frontier — A Graphic Tale on June 4. How are you planning the event?

We are launching the comic book at Skinny Mo’s Jazz Club on Sunday, June 4 at 7pm. We will also screen the short documentary by Intek Music (the making of Frontier) and host a listening session of the full album with projected visuals by our good friend and photographer/visual artist Shan Bhattacharya. It is a ‘free entry, open to all’ event, but one will need to register beforehand because we will close registrations at 50 people max. We are circulating the registration form on social media.

Why bring out a comic book with an album?

Well, there are two reasons. First, this is a science fiction concept album and the whole album is presented as a story, with every piece of music having a particular context. Ideally, this should have been a 75-minute animated movie, but who has the budget for that? So I thought that a comic book to accompany the music will give the listener a complete experience and give the music another perspective to engage a listener at a deeper and more intricate level. Second, for a concept album like this, it demands a physical medium. Printing vinyls are tremendously expensive (this would have been a double LP album) and CDs are pretty much useless. So, we thought that the comic book would be a unique and appropriate idea. On the last page of the book, there is a QR code and a unique download code from where one can download the full album in a lossless hi-resolution format like FLAC or WAV.

The story and the text have been written by you. Tell us about the stories that you have written. What are they about?

The main storyline of Frontier is that at some point in the near future, the Earth is destroyed due to Nuclear War. Three astronauts (The Bodhisattwa Trio) have escaped on their space shuttle called Frontier to find a new home planet in the cosmos which has suitable conditions for life. The story is designed like an epic journey through multiple universes across space and time. Each two-page layout corresponds to every song. So for 11 tunes, we have 22 pages, plus the additional pages for credits and covers. The story starts with the destruction of Earth and ends with the three of us settling down on Earth X in a parallel universe, which is an antithesis of Earth — a perfect utopia where peace and love prevail.

How did you all work on the design and layout?

The overall look had to be compact, and slick and the artwork needed to be dynamic, engaging and futuristic. Shan and I decided that we will use artificial intelligence to generate the images. So I wrote the script (which consists of recorded audio logs by the astronauts), the design and layout were done by Shan, and the images were generated by A.I software using CLIP-guided Diffusion Models on text prompts.

Last updated on 29.05.23, 09:48 AM

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