Prog has never been a genre with a lack of ambition. And yet, by the end of the Morpheus Project’s debut single, Mozaick, even veteran fans who flew around the sun with Yes and Pink Floyd back in the ’70s may find themselves shaken, saucer-eyed and proclaiming the arrival of a new force in prog.
At a time when global events have shrunk our horizons, this first taste of Mustafa Khetty’s new project is the antidote: an immersive audio-visual opus that crosses continents, defies genre and tramples the dogma that stops lesser composers taking flight. As Mustafa explains: “Rules are meant to be broken.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the widescreen vision of the Mozaick single and video. From his first rock-classical fusion concerto – written at age 15 – to recent classical works that have drawn praise from BBC1 and Classic FM, anyone who has followed Mustafa’s fascinating career to date will know this is one musician whose backstory is as eclectic as his art. Born in Sri Lanka, but a global citizen who has lived in Ireland, the UK, Middle East and Far East, Mustafa’s ears have been pricked up all his life, soaking up the native sounds from each culture and using them to spice his own compositions. And as the man himself has roamed, so have his influences. “Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Tchaikovsky,” he says of his touchstones. “And from the 20th century, Arvo Pärt, Rick Wakeman, Carlos Santana, Jon Lord…”
Meanwhile, the character and humanity in Mustafa’s music bear witness to a man who has known both hard knocks and dizzy success, setting out with just $40 in his pocket, but climbing to the status of a respected Wall Street trader and tech entrepreneur. Through it all, music was always there at Mustafa’s core, prompting him to sell his business in 2017 and follow his true calling. Now, as the lead single from the Morpheus Project’s forthcoming album, Mozaick is the latest twist in that eye-opening résumé. The statistics behind this shape-shifting prog odyssey are enough to boggle the mind: over thirty instruments are in the mix, along with a tapestry of 140 separate tracks, and nods to everything from the pulse of Latin America to the motifs of the Middle East.
Every element is an essential ingredient in the spellbinding Mozaick video, which demands that listeners step back from their realities and join Mustafa’s voyage of sound and vision. As the smoke clears, the song opens with ethereal chimes, the evolving mood represented by a dance troupe who flow amongst silk drapes and dramatic lighting. Suddenly, a powerful beat shifts the atmosphere, the dancers falling into step as a melody fuses electronica with Eastern flavours. Then comes a virtuoso electric guitar and strings, driving the tempo and raising the heat, the dancers thrashing in water and coiling their bodies in total synergy. Throughout, Mustafa himself is seen in snatches: an enigmatic presence, preferring to let the music speak for itself.
To use the old parlance of prog-rock, Mozaick is one hell of a trip. In a world of disposable modern pop, this track throws a lifeline to the music fans who prefer to dive deeper, inviting them to pore over the nuances of the elaborate production and woven instrumentation, and unpick a composition that reveals a little more with every listen. Above all, Mozaick is the perfect introduction to the scope of Mustafa Khetty’s musical ambition – and a signpost to his sonic voyages still to come. “Music has been in my veins since my early years," he says, “and to return to it is a lifelong dream come true”.