Pangea guitarist Shadaab Kadri will release his debut album called ‘Reminiscence’ later this year. Photo: Satya Naren
Over the last four years, Mumbai-based producer/guitarist Shadaab Kadri has been writing riffs — as well as electronic sections — for his instrumental metal band Pangea. While the mind-bending prog guitar work is what brings most people to their gigs, Kadri says he’s met fans who like more than just the riffs. “I have had Pangea fans come up to me and tell me how they enjoyed the ambient tracks in the album and that they would like to hear more of that,” says Kadri, who was been working on his solo ambient/drone material, set to release under the moniker Riatsu.
Like a lot of other Japanese words, it takes more than just a word to explain the meaning of Kadri’s project. The producer explains he picked the name after getting hooked to the concept of riatsu inside anime series Bleach. Says Kadri, “Riatsu is spiritual pressure or the aura/vibe that surrounds a person or place. It’s the basis of everything for me.”
Kadri began writing in earnest in January this year, with a five-track album called Reminiscence now under way for release later this year. Like his Pangea bandmate Akshay Rajpurohit [from hardcore band Scribe and electronic music artist Aqua Dominatrix], Kadri is also a fan of synthesizers and says Riatsu is completely synth-based music. Adds Kadri, “It’s going to be very spacey and dark/dronish so I don’t expect a lot of people bobbing their heads to this one.” Although originally more interested in drone music, Kadri was turned to more ambient music by his friend and Mumbai-based videographer Aditya Sankhe. Says Kadri, “He shared some amazing content with me. This content has been in the form of documentaries, movies, speeches, music etc. I think he unknowingly played a major part in evolving my music. I took elements from all of this and created something different.”
Reminiscence features fairly long tracks that are perfect for headphone listening, the layers of slow sound complemented by the occasional voice sample, like on a track tentatively titled “The Path is Grey.” Kadri goes more drone with an ominous bell toll on another track called “Cromwell Street.” The musician likens it to soundtrack music saying, “There is something about having that perfect piece of music playing in the back of that perfect video.”
‘Reminiscence’ artwork by Siddhartha Iyer
With composing out of the way, Kadri is roping in visual designers from across the country to work on album art for each track on Reminiscence. This includes Gurgaon-based Siddhartha Iyer, who is creating a cover photo for the project, along with a friend of Kadri’s, Mihir Ashok, creating art for a couple of tracks. Says Kadri, “There’s some insane talent in this country.” Undeterred knowing that the demand for drone/ambient acts isn’t too high in India, he does plan to take Riatsu live. Says Kadri, “I will be recreating the tracks especially for a live set. There’s a lot of work remaining on that.”