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How A TV Show Inspired Mali’s New Cinematic Single ‘Age of Limbo’

The track is the first offering from the Mumbai-based singer-songwriter’s forthcoming debut full-length album ‘Caution to The Wind’

David Britto May 01, 2020

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Mali. Photo: Shweta Sharma

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When Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Maalavika Manoj aka Mali tuned into late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien’s Netflix docuseries Conan Without Borders one scene in the show stood out for the musician. Mali recounts a scene where O’Brien interviews two Israeli troops at the Syrian border. “You could hear bombs and machine guns going off in the distance. To think in those few minutes of video footage of a comedy show that someone could have been killed or someone’s house could have come down was something that really messed up my mind and haunted me for a long time,” she says.

Watching that eventually inspired the singer-songwriter to sit down at her keyboard and write her latest offering, the cinematic “Age of Limbo,” which is the first single off her forthcoming eight-track debut album Caution to The Wind.

“Age of Limbo” kicks off with a melodic drum groove and slowly opens like a blossoming flower with Mali’s elegant vocals, string arrangements, synth parts and contrasting chord movements creating a dark but gripping listen. While hearing the track one can imagine it playing in a Hollywood blockbuster superhero movie of some kind. “It sounds very Bond-esque,” says Mali. Produced by Indo-Canadian Arnob Bal, the song also includes drummer Jehangir Jehangir, bassist Stuart DaCosta, synths by Mumbai alt rockers Spud in the Box’s Rohan Rajadhyaksha and strings from Nashville-based musician Luke Moller.

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Although the song was written much before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, Mali says, “It’s pretty apt with what’s going on now.” The musician tells us that she intended for the song to have a “feeling of tension.” The singer-songwriter adds, “You know, feeling like everything is a loop, everything is just the same. I wanted the song to carry that same sense of unnerving tension. I wanted people to also feel they are entering a state of confusion.”

Originally Mali had planned for her 2019 snappy single “Mango Showers” to be the lead track off her upcoming album but has since decided to leave the song off the record. “One of the reasons was it came out so much before anything else on this album, sonically it should kind of live on its own.” The singer-songwriter also informs us that she had intended to release a track called “Cabaret” as the lead single from Caution to The Wind and was going to shoot a music video for it in Japan too. “Flights got canceled, the lockdown happened, and I couldn’t do that,” says Mali. She adds, “’Age of Limbo’ was so pertinent and fits so well with what’s going on, I realized this is the best time to release this song.”

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During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mali has been spending time doing creative things with her flatmate who has been experimenting with photography and even catching up on TV shows. With her album ready, the musician is now just playing the wait and watch game to see how things pan out before announcing a release date. “I want to release two more singles before the album comes out,” she says.

Watch the crowdsourced music video for “Age of Limbo” below:

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