Hear Mumbai Artist VAR!N’s Shape-Shifting Lockdown Album ‘The Long Weekend 2’
Rappers such as Tintin, Rhyming Man, A-Gan, Loud Silence and producer-rapper Xplicit feature on the eight-track record
About a year ago, when a nationwide lockdown was enforced, Bengaluru-bred, Mumbai-based guitarist, producer and vocalist Varun Anand aka VAR!N launched an album called The Long Weekend, in a bid to represent his “artistic endeavors during periods of forced isolation.” While that record was building on his trap, R&B and hip-hop credentials, the follow-up concept record The Long Weekend 2 – which released earlier this month – shines a light on his indie-pop, drill and soul-searching side as well.
Through the course of eight tracks, VAR!N explores socio-political ideas, the havoc wreaked by the pandemic, standing on his own and also acknowledging the support of his partner. Sonically, there’s lo-fi sad rock leading on “S.I.N.S” (featuring producer Nishikar Chhibber) as well as “The Wolf, Pt. 2,” with the latter being a sequel to a track off The Long Weekend. VAR!N says, “While part one of the ‘The Wolf’ talked about the lone wolf metaphor, this song switches the focus to the idea of a wolf as a pack animal.”
Watch the video for “23” below.
There’s a fun-loving side to the artist heard on the opening track “Piper” with Bengaluru rapper Tintin and Germany-based Sheehan Sista as well as the old-school, slinky hip-hop song “All I Am” which muses on identity with vocalist Timeship and producer VG Bases. “23,” which is a reference to VAR!N’s age, gets a cypher-like flow going with Tamil rapper A-Gan, Odiya rapper Rhyming Man, Bengaluru-based Loud Silence and production from Chennai artists RSHN and Ankith Gupta. There’s more introspection but also conviction heard on “Road Runner,” featuring Xplicit and produced by VAR!N’s go-to London collaborator U-A Music.
There is a darker, melancholic side to the artist that perhaps comes across as an artistic statement on The Long Weekend 2 on tracks like “Disconnect” and “Immortal.” The pandemic plays a key role in shaping VAR!N’s verses on the chasmic beat-led “Disconnect,” which is all him centered in emotional distress. On the moody closing “Immortal,” he’s joined by his sister Mika on vocals and Bengaluru producer Demixx Beats on a journeying track that addresses artistry and death. VAR!N describes it almost in literary fashion in terms of his aim with the track, “Death is always something that makes people uncomfortable and it never seemed more imminent than during lockdown where you saw the number of fatalities shoot to the millions in a matter of months. I lost a lot of family members during this time and I was forced into taking a stoic approach to the situation to preserve my sanity,” he says.
Listen to ‘The Long Weekend 2’ below. Hear on more platforms here.