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Hear Marty Friedman Join New Delhi Rockers Antariksh on Prog Track ‘Quest’

The Japan-based, American guitar veteran blazes his way through the Indian band’s bilingual release

Anurag Tagat Jan 20, 2021

New Delhi rock band Antariksh's founder Varun Rajput and guitarist-composer Marty Friedman. Photos: Ishita Singh (Antariksh), Courtesy of Marty Friedman

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In the making for more than a decade, New Delhi rock band Antariksh‘s blazing new Hindi-English single “Quest” arrives not just with surging prog rock and sitar fusion flourishes but also topped off with a inimitable guest solo from guitar ace Marty Friedman

Their first release of the year, “Quest” takes a detour from Antariksh’s pop-informed singles of 2020 such as “Raahiya” and “Jee Le Zara.” Turns out, it was sitting in a folder called “new song ideas” on Antariksh founder and guitarist-composer Varun Rajput’s computer since 2008, back when he was part of a band called Feedback with fellow rocker Mridul Ganesh. “I’m sure a lot of musicians can relate,” Rajput says with a smile. 

Also featuring sitarist Dhruv Bedi (from veteran rockers Parikrama), “Quest” was revisited in January 2019 when Rajput began working on an Antariksh album and then in November that year, the band performed at Bacardi NH7 Weekender festival in Meghalaya. Friedman was headlining and making his India debut and the former guitarist of thrash metal giants Megadeth put on a performance which shook Rajput — a longtime fan — out of his procrastination. It led him to think of Friedman as a perfect fit for a solo section on “Quest” that the former was putting off.  “As luck would have it, Marty and his band were sitting two rows ahead of us in the flight on our way back to Delhi the next day. All I could think of during the flight was if I should ask him about playing on ‘Quest’ or not, but for some reason I didn’t. It was only when we got down at the airport, I went up to him and introduced myself and spoke to him about a guest solo on ‘Quest.’ Once he got back to Japan, we exchanged a few messages and finally — it happened,” Rajput says. 

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Friedman, for his part, recalls it as a “a strange way to meet anyone.” He adds about the track, “My first impression was that it was more ‘international’ than I expected, and less ‘Indian.’ But then again, it’s way more ‘Indian’ than what is happening elsewhere. It’s a unique balance.” A song of introspection, “Quest” ebbs and flows through dreamy synth as well as furious, arena-ready rock rhythms. An animated video for the track is expected next in February. 

Listen to “Quest” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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