Exclusive Stream: Listen to Fingerstyle Guitarist Visita’s Enchanting New EP
Vivek Venugopal teams up with Montreal-based producer Starfish Compass for a globetrotting sonic trip that is ‘Syncretism Vol. 1’
On his 2015 debut album Musings, Hyderabad-based fingerstyle guitarist Vivek Venugopal aka Visita brought in a few world music elements, even if just by using his technique, on the nine-track release. But on his new EP Syncretism Vol. 1 he has a guest with him and a more concrete aim to cover sonic territories from around the globe. He says, “The music was meant to reconcile and channel different forms and traditions of music, in a contemporary context.”
To help him stretch the boundaries beyond his bedrock influences of acoustic, progressive and world music, Venugopal worked with Montreal-based producer Aditya T.B. aka Starfish Compass. With an emphasis on sound design and contemporary orchestration, the three-track Syncretism Vol. 1 is a calming, layered instrumental bounty, with more details popping up with each listen – from “A Celtic Reverie” to the Raag Nat Bhairav-adapting “Karunaras” and the dreamy West African music-inspired “The Kora (A Jali from Mali)”.
Aditya and Venugopal, who were introduced via a mutual friend, worked initially with the guitarist crafting these songs as solo compositions and allowing the producer to take over with a “vision and theme of the EP”. Aditya says, “Vivek had something of a ‘programme music’ kind of style where he’d present his compositions written to a fairly specific picturesque description. These stories behind the tracks were the main driving point for me, which inspired some of the instrumentation, and in other parts it was driven by the call for a soundscape.”
Even if just three tracks and about 17 minutes, there’s a lot of attention to detail. Aditya says, “We recorded multiple layers, all synced to the beat, where I drove Vivek crazy with tempo specifications. There were parts he could play in a more human fashion, and then other parts where he had to hit everything with laser precision.”
While there are plans to continue collaborating in the future and release performance videos, Venugopal is working on two EPs, including Syncretism Vol. 2, which will be inspired bossa nova, Cuban-Latin jazz, flamenco, and Middle-Eastern and North African sounds. He adds, “If I come across some other genres that interest me, they will get in there too. I am hoping that it can be released in Late 2017.”
Listen to the EP