Exclusive Stream: Mumbai Artist Tekina’s Funky Jazz-Hop Debut ‘From Toons To Tunes’
Composer and producer Aniket Mangrulkar rounds up members from Voctronica, Bhayanak Maut and more for a sublime, nostalgic five-track EP
Featuring material that’s been released and undergone transition over the last six years, Mumbai composer Aniket Mangrulkar’s project Tekina finally gets its debut EP From Toons To Tunes this week.
Mangrulkar worked with vocal group Voctronica‘s Warsha Easwar, producer Shannon George (his bandmate in erstwhile rock band Zodiac and presently part of instrumental act Letterz), bassist Ishaan Krishna (from metallers Bhayanak Maut) and saxophonist Jarryd Rodriguez. Songs like the glimmering trip-hop song “I Feel One” have been released before, but get a new coat of shine with busier drum flourishes and of course, Easwar’s own vocal style.
“Claiming Me,” which had a version out in 2018, stays delectably buoyant and playful in its soul, jazz and hip-hop blend. Mangrulkar says From Toons To Tunes – in the works for about two years – was intended for release in 2020, but the pandemic put pause on many processes. “I sat waiting for weeks, hoping that things would come back to normal but they didn’t, and so we dropped the idea of doing a formal studio recording. I was lucky that everyone had a more than decent recording setup at home and that’s how we pulled it off,” the composer says.
Relatively newer songs such as “Underwater,” “Age With Grace” and “Toons to Tunes” are steeped in elements of funk, electronic and hip-hop; some being predominantly instrumental while Easwar leads on “Toons to Tunes” and Mangrulkar shares vocal duties on “Age With Grace.” The composer calls Easwar the “best storyteller for these tracks” and says they connected after working on a few commercial projects. “Her voice has a beautiful warm and intimate texture that I found absolutely perfect in conveying the contemplative nature of the songs. Warsha and I will be collaborating on more releases for Tekina in the future,” he adds.
The intent on From Toons To Tunes, as the title suggests, is one of reminiscence but also about “growing old and the internal conflicts that come with it,” as Mangrulkar terms it. “Growing old within the context of the journey of watching cartoons to composing tunes is kind of a personal story and any personal story is nuanced enough to make it different,” the composer says with regard to avoiding worn out cliches when it comes to making nostalgic music.
From Toons To Tunes will also get a music video release and then there will likely be a new Tekina single this year. Mangrulkar adds, “All I can say is that there’s plenty more where this came from.”
Listen to ‘From Toons To Tunes’ below. The EP is out on all platforms on April 2nd.