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Listen: Kolkata’s Hybrid Protokol Get Intergalactic on New EP

‘Sounds In Place’ samples political punditry, space talk and poignant piano

Anurag Tagat Jun 28, 2018

Kolkata duo Hybrid Protokol's Aneesh Basu and Soumajit Ghosh (from left). Photo: Triangle Aperture

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When rageaholic newscaster Arnab Goswami demands that “the nation wants to know,” Kolkata electronic duo Hybrid Protokol seem to supply an answer, albeit in their own trippy way. On “Prosthaan – প্রস্থান (We Are Not Alone),” the opening track to their recent release Sounds In Place, producers Aneesh Basu and Soumajit Ghosh use Goswami’s famous rhetoric and set it against former NASA astronaut Charles Bolden’s talk about how we’re not alone in the universe.

Ghosh says the track was the starting point of their three-track EP, which was out last month. It wasn’t the samples, though. It was a tone test on his Analog RYTM beat machine which resulted in finding a “sweet spot” to start off the track’s progression.  Ghosh adds, “We used a huge amount of Micro Delays of the RYTM on this track and have randomized the same, to create an eerie, otherworldly and abstract feeling.” Basu, for his part, says he always wanted to sample Goswami’s heated speeches which highlight his “dated nationalism” in a track. “We use voice samples mostly as musical hooks in our track’s arrangement. The voice samples eventually become a storytelling aspect in our songs,” Basu adds.

Sounds In Place, released via Mumbai-based artist label nrtya, is the follow-up to their 2016 debut Deep Beyond Belief, which introduced Hybrid Protokol as an energetic act that called on voices such as Rahul Guha Roy (from rock veterans Cassini’s Division) and dream-pop act Oh, Rocket!’s Aniket Dutta. This EP also features a friend of the producer duo – keyboardist Nabarun Bose, formerly of rock group The Ganesh Talkies – who punctuates a psychedelic, hypnotic sound with cinematic piano lines on “Tetsuo.” Ghosh says of the track, “We’d created the track’s chord progression on the Moog Mother 32 followed by the groove on our drum machine; we started to layer the Moog, as unison, utilizing different frequencies on each Moog track. From there on we met with Nabarun and decided to work on the progression.” They round off the EP with the pulsating, techno-informed “Dancing With Strangers.”

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One of the few live electronic acts in Kolkata – alongside newer artists such as Granular and 5volts – Basu says they refrain from playing DJ sets. Ghosh adds, “Since our inception, we had decided to perform only live electronic music, just like what has been happening in the U.K. and Europe since the Eighties. Hence, even though we get few gigs, we prefer to perform the music live, using our arsenal of synthesizers, drum machines and the like.”

Listen to ‘Sounds In Place’ here.

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