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Exclusive Premiere: Five of Castles Channel Prog Goodness on ‘Wabi-Sabi’

The Mumbai instrumental band follow-up their debut EP ‘Jena’s Fields’ with a bright-eyed new song

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Anurag Tagat Sep 04, 2018

Mumbai instrumental rock/metal band Five of Castles. Photo: Deepal Anuj Dadkar

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When you have no vocals or lyrics in your music as an instrumental band, song titles are about as close as one comes to getting hints about a mood or theme. With Mumbai’s Five of Castles, who have been around since 2014, their new song “Wabi-Sabi” takes from a Japanese aesthetic about imperfection and impermanence.

Bassist Tejas Khedekar says, “The  process of working on the song itself got us into choosing the title ”˜Wabi-Sabi’  for the track.” Recorded at the band’s home studio by engineer Aditya Mhatre and mixed and mastered by New Delhi’s Keshav Dhar, the track offers progressive metal vibrancy akin to bands like Polyphia, Plini and Intervals, punctuated by a piano segment that’s almost dissonant in its placement amidst riffs. Guitarist Karan Suvarna says of the surprise addition, “Initially, when I started with the piano section it was more of an experiment I went through for weeks, as this was my first time recording and composing piano. I had no clue how people would react to it. But after working around it, it got its own space I feel, which worked beautifully for the song.”

Although Khedekar is currently out of the country pursuing a postgraduate degree in Netherlands, the bassist likens it to a “minor setback” in terms of putting out new music. He adds that he will no longer play bass but handle managerial duties for the band.

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With a new lineup in the works, Five of Castles do seem to take the idea of “Wabi-Sabi” to heart. Khedekar says, “Even the artwork is trying to represent what it goes behind being perfect and in all the process you are left with imperfections and ugliness but we as a band and also maybe our audience learned how to embrace it. We’ll keep on learning.”

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