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Amogh Symphony: Lucky Number Four

The transnational avant-garde band turn to folk/fusion and keep as less
progressive metal as possible on their fourth album

Anurag Tagat Jul 25, 2017

Amogh Symphony want fans to expect the unexpected. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Mumbai-based producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Vishal J Singh sure likes to surround himself with talent–and we’re not just talking about his mother, the veteran Hindustani classical vocalist Kasturi Singh or working with the Goregaon Brass Orchestra, but also Deep Saikia. The latter works as Singh’s chauffeur when he’s not playing an Assamese tribal horn called pepa. “He’s playing like a maniac. I made him listen to a lot of Miles Davis before he recorded his parts on about six songs,” Singh says.

Since their eerie 2014 concept album Vectorscan, there have been big changes in Singh’s band Amogh Symphony. The global outfit that features Russian multi-instrumentalist Andrey Sazonov now includes Portugal-based producer and synth player Derick Gomes and German guitarist Tom Geldschläger aka The Fountainhead (formerly of tech-death band Obscura). Singh says of the band members, “All of us do music 24/7, but Amogh Symphony is a place where we put those musical ideas that we’ve never disclosed to any client or film or any other project.”

With about eight songs ready and a total of 15 songs written and recorded, Amogh Symphony IV marks the band’s fourth lineup, fourth album and showcases the four members’ different experiments –whether it’s Sazonov using an acoustic guitar tuned up to sound like the Japanese koto or Geldschläger playing the oud. Singh adds, “It’s just been three or four months with this new lineup. There are a few guest drummers—well-known prog drummers —featuring on the album.”

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The album is divided into two sides, introducing listeners to entirely instrumental songs on side A, followed by songs on side B that include vocals by all four members and Assamese lyrics by Kasturi Singh. Early last year, they released “Aai,” an entirely instrumental, cinematic eight-minute wonder that goes from joy to destruction, tracing a sonic narrative about motherhood. “Instead of doing a concept album, each song has its own story,” Singh says. He mentions another track called “Main Bhi Joker Banunga,” which comes across as a reference to actor Heath Ledger’s intense method acting to play The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Singh adds, “Artists and creative people get into the darkest part of art. They find pain and depression to be creative. It keeps happening over and over because The Joker keeps getting replaced.”

With the band slated to release more songs and begin pre-orders in July, Singh says the album is currently in the mastering phase. One thing’s for sure, though—there’s no going back to the prog roots of albums like Abolishing The Obsolete System (2009) and The Quantum Hack Code (2010). Singh says, “We were stuck with the same sound and wanted to get out of that prog space. With Derick joining and this new lineup, we’ve discovered a new sound.”

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Listen to “Aai” 

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