Yearning In Electronica
Trip-hop duo Sulk Station’s DIY album is a sonic teaseAlbums, New Music, Reviews July 20, 2012
Longing and unrequited sentiments are best reserved for pop songs. That cliché is subverted by Bengaluru-based trip-hop duo Sulk Station, whose debut album Till You Appear is a 10-track anthology on yearning and discontentment. Singer Tanvi Rao and producer Rahul Giri put together their collective love-lust angst, smoky-room jazz style vocals, long piano pieces and Indian classical influences onto a bedroom-studio installed groovebox. The result is a lounge-y, orchestral, trip-hop sound.
The opener, “Pause(Intro)” – languid yet dark – sets the tone for the rest of the album. Rao renders the raga-based compositions in Urdu and Hindi with ease. Giri’s fantastic, yet simple soundscapes use synth sounds, head-bopping marching beats and heavy bass lines.
While ambient sounds have been used sparsely, some of them could have been avoided. For example, the sounds of chatter heard on “Contentment” may have been included to break the monotonous melancholy of the record, but don’t quite fit in.
As you progress into Till You Appear, it gets darker and the tempo picks up with frenzied drum ‘n’ bass sections in songs like “Bindiya,” “Confession,” “Piya I” and “Piya II.” The album closes on a feverish, taut note on “Wait.” Here Rao’s vocals recall the vocal style of Brit-Tamil singer Susheela Raman.
Till You Appear draws from a range human emotions. But lust and obsession are perhaps the strongest motifs here, lending a unifying sonic theme to the record.