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How Insane Cults Influenced Paraphoniks’ Shimmering New Album

‘Silhouettes’ by the Mumbai electronic duo comes after about a year of radio silence

Anurag Tagat Sep 26, 2018

Mumbai electronic duo Paraphoniks. Photo: Ronit Sarkar

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The Himalayas, literature on the notorious Jim Jones-led Peoples Temple and a bunch of synthesizers, sequences and computers – Mumbai electronic duo Paraphoniks sure know how to get into work mode for an album. Their latest release, Silhouettes, was written after Shatrunjai Rai Dewan and Sid Shirodkar worked from scratch with intentional limitations.

After the release of their 2016 EP Yarns, the duo toured the country but maintained silence once their next album was underway. It’s only in the buildup to Silhouettes that there’s been major activity. In between, of course, Shirodkar was busy with electronic act Ape Echoes. “I would say maybe there has been a harmonic influence on the compositions,” Shirodkar says about the influence between the acts he’s part of.

But where the seven-track Silhouettes stands out is in its eeriness, developing a murkiness to it to reflect the narrative of a person about to join a cult. The opening track “Rubicon” hints toward the nature of cults and the unquestioning authority that it involves. Dewan adds, “I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision to progress towards a darker sound. It could have been a result of the environment in which the music was conceived as well as an urge to explore newer aspects of harmony and their consequences, for me personally.”

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Paraphoniks commissioned visual artist Priyesh Trivedi (best known for his Adarsh Balak series of art) to take the message of “Rubicon” and turn it into their album cover. Turns out they had just the right things in common. Shirodkar says, “I called him and said we had just finished making an album about a cult and asked if he would be interested in creating some artwork for it, to which he swiftly replied, ‘Yeah, I’m kind of obsessed with cults!’”

Almost instantly approved, Paraphoniks’ other collaborators on Silhouettes include singer Azamaan Hoyvoy and drummer Sahil Shah, the latter of whom is also involved in Ape Echoes. The vocalist and drummer will be involved in Paraphoniks’ three-city launch tour which kicks off on September 26th in Mumbai, alongside Luxembourg live electronic act Napoleon Gold. Dewan says, “Our primary purpose of involving Sahil and Azamaan in the tour is to introduce an improvisational excitement on stage as opposed to playing back music exactly how it’s written.”

Mixtape and Gatecrash Present Paraphoniks + Napoleon Gold Tour Dates

September 25th – Swig, Pune (Napoleon Gold only)

September 26th – Todi Mill Social, Mumbai

September 27th – Auro Kitchen & Bar, New Delhi

September 28th – Fandom at Gilly’s Redefined, Bengaluru

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