10 Best Indian EPs of 2015
Curtain Blue packs in punchy, spacey experiments; Nush Lewis crafts tinkling melodies; Jose Neil Gomes works his multi-instrumental magic
From electro-swing courtesy Delhi duo Madboy/Mink, to dream-pop delight crafted by Black Letters, here are our picks for 2015’s best EPs.
The following list is in no order of ranking.
1. Petrichor – Black Letters
The dream pop-inspired EP might not be remotely close to the Bengaluru band’s big sound alt rock heard on their debut Shapes on the Wall, released in 2014, but it carries their signature leaning towards melody. The EP draws from bands such as American shoegaze act Deerhunter, American chillwave artist Washed Out and Canadian art-rock band Braids and it was recorded by Bengaluru-based producer Vivek Thomas.
2. Recess – Ox7gen
Aditya Ashok aka Ox7gen has been able to do what many musicians in the indie space currently aspire to – glide between the electronic and live music scenes effortlessly. And his latest EP, Recess, displays his sensibilities as both a skillful drummer and a drum ‘n’ bass producer. Through the six-track record, you can hear interesting patters and grooves, and what is most interesting is the fact that Ashok plays with engaging pauses and silences on Recess.
Oh! Rocket likes all things strange – from the song titles [“Mechanical Kimono,” “Broccoli Negative,” “Conch”] to the poetry they carry in these songs. Clever, Clever is the follow-up EP to the Kolkata indietronica duo’s 2014 EP The Clouds Woke No Clocks. The compositions on the three-track Clever, Clever are all soothing to the ear – from the space-y “Blue Raccoon Dog” [which, by the way, has a cool video too] to the synth-heavy “Begin” and the groovier “Broccoli Negative.”
4. Blushing Satellite – Blushing Satellite
Bengaluru vocalist Karthik Basker should never stop singing. We’re glad Blushing Satellite came along after his previous projects – psychedelic rock band The Bicycle Days and electronic music act Klypp – became inactive. Also featuring former Bicycle Days guitarist Ramanan Chandramouli showing off his jazz chops, Basker’s textured vocals shine through over mellow music that occasionally builds up on their debut self-titled EP, from the breezy “Finders” to the nine-minute “Arul.” As intended by the band, this is a near-spiritual experience, one that’s a bit short but worthy of a debut.
5. Systematic – Jose Neil Gomes
Mumbai multi-instrumentalist Jose Neil Gomes displays his versatility on this debut record. The three-track EP is a guitar-heavy production and it features tight basslines and catchy hooks.
6. Fused – Nush Lewis
One amongst the handful of harp players in India, Mumbai’s Nush Lewis’s EP Fused features six tinkling melodies that talk about some of her innermost thoughts, from drinking tea with a lover from bright orange teacups to finding sanity.
7. Flutter – Frame/Frame
Delhi producer Nikhil Kaul’s EP is as much about experimenting with deep house [“Nova”] as it is about bringing his original glitch hop sounds back [“Fragment,” featuring Pune producer Rohan Hastak aka Big City Harmonics]. With a well-produced music video backing an infectious single [“Flutter”], Kaul roped in fellow Delhi electronic artist Abhishek Bhatia aka Curtain Blue for “Nymph”.
8. Union Farm – Madboy/Mink
On their second EP, the Mumbai nu disco duo explore much more than electro-swing even as they retain their catchy retro appeal.
9. Constants and Variables – Aditya Balani
Delhi guitarist and composer Aditya Balani is known for his jazz and world music leanings but on his new EP he has traded in contemplative compositions [as seen on his last album, Answers] for more foot-tapping music. Apart from composing and playing guitar on the album which he says was written “very fast,” Balani has sung all four songs too.
10. Drones – Curtain Blue
Delhi-based musican Abhishek Bhatia aka Curtain Blue’s EP Drones is a neat collection of both punchy and spacey tracks. Bhatia’s sensibilities as a guitarist are best reflected in songs like the experimental/funky “Sentinel” and the title track, “Drones”.