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Exclusive Premiere: Inalab Releases the First Song He Ever Wrote, ‘Khwaab’

The track features renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal

David Britto Jan 10, 2019

Hindustani classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal (left) features on Gaurav Balani aka Inalab's latest single "Khwaab." Photo: Courtesy of the artists

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In August last year, New Delhi bassist Gaurav Balani (of seasoned rockers Parikrama) dropped his contemporary pop leaning fourth single “Help Me Fly” featuring Mumbai vocalist Apeksha Dandekar as part of his collaborative project Inalab. Now, the bassist is back with his latest offering, the jazz fusion “Khwaab” with celebrated Hindustani classical singer and Padma Shri recipient Shubha Mudgal. Although it’s Balani’s latest release, the bass riff was actually the first he ever wrote in 2008 when he was in college. He says, “It has a lot of emotions attached to it since it was written at such a young age.”

Ever since Balani joined Mudgal’s live setup in 2012 as part of her poetry-influenced band Koshish he has wanted to collaborate with her. “When I finished working on this track, I requested her if she would be ok featuring on it, and she was kind enough to agree,” says Balani. The bassist tells us that Mudgal wrote lyrics to the track and says, “This song is essentially for the dreamers, people who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there for something they truly believe in, no matter how impossible it might seem.”

“Khwaab” artwork.

“Khwaab” opens with a lush piano part by Nipun Cheema and Mudgal’s powerful and expressive vocals. While the first half of the jazz fusion track showcases exactly why Mudgal is so widely appreciated for her sublime skills as a Hindustani classical singer, the second part of the song builds up in tempo courtesy of the capital’s finest musicians; drummer Tarun Balani (of electronica duo Time Machine) provides an exquisite groove over delicate guitar work by Aditya Balani and a scintillating solo by sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan.

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Ask Balani about his experience working with Mudgal and he says, “It was nothing short of a dream. Even after everything was recorded to perfection in the studio, she kept asking me if I was ‘satisfied’ with the takes or if there was something else that I wanted her to try musically.” “Khwaab” has been self produced by Balani and mixed and mastered by Keshav Dhar (from Indo/American prog rockers Skyharbor) at Illusion Studios in New Delhi. Mudgal’s vocals were tracked at city-based Studio Fuzz while drums and bass were recorded at the capital’s Plug N Play Studios.

Up next, Balani is lining up three more single releases for 2019; the first of which he says is an experimental rap track about racism which will feature drummer Suyash Gabriel (from post-rock band Zokova), Moulik Siddharth on vocals and electronica funk outfit DCF_Shapes’ Harshit Misra on synth bass. The bassist got a taste of his first Inalab show this past October and states that his main focus this year is to tour with the project and play as many shows as possible.

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