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Fusion Act Jatayu Team Up with Harini Iyer and Praveen Sparsh for ‘Restless’

The Chennai band’s Carnatic-informed excursion makes for a trippy, introspective jam, paired with an animated video by illustrator Pooja Sreenivasan

Anurag Tagat Jan 20, 2022

Chennai-based jazz fusion band Jatayu. Photo: Deborah Philip

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Chennai jazz-fusion band Jatayu take listeners along on a groovy, psychedelic journey of self-discovery on their latest single “Restless,” with help from vocalist-composer Harini Iyer and mridangam proponent Praveen Sparsh. The follow-up to their 2021 EP Moodswings is also offered up with a murky yet metaphor-heavy video, created by illustrator Pooja Sreenivasan.

Jatayu, Iyer and Sparsh have all been adding to the modern Indian jazz canon for a few years now, and they’ve occasionally shown up on each other’s radars. Bassist Kashyap Jaishankar notes that they met Iyer in Hyderabad in 2019 and connected after realizing they were both in Chennai. “We sent her a new idea that we’d come up with to see if she wanted to collab on it and that ended up being this song,” he adds. Elsewhere, guitarist Shylu Ravindran and Sparsh have been friends within Carnatic music circles. Jaishankar adds, “But it’s impossible to not know Praveen Sparsh, as a Chennai-based musician, at this point I think because of how much he’s done. His name was the first that came to mind when we thought of having the mridangam on ‘Restless.’”

Guitarist Sahib Singh adds that even though their link to their collaborators on “Restless” originated in Indian jazz and fusion artist circles, Jatayu aren’t tied down to specific sounds. “The goal is to create new sonic scapes with people from all over the world, understanding culture through music,” he adds. The buoyant movements throughout “Restless” reflect this, Iyer adding a near-meditative quality with her vocals.

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The animated music video by Sreenivasan started out with a process of word association which created a theme and concept. Iyer, who took the lead on the video creation, was inspired by the character arch in the video game Limbo. He says, “This felt like we were working backwards where the song was produced and written but we got a new perspective of how it made us feel after our collective ideas were already etched into the song.”

“Restless” was launched in December alongside a tour, which Jatayu could only see through halfway, with the rise in Covid cases putting a halt on gigs across the country. There were nationwide and international shows planned for 2022 that have been disrupted by the pandemic, but it led the band to focus on studio releases. Singh says, “We have a full-length album coming out in a couple of months, and we have quite a few singles lined up with various vocalists, instrumentalists, electronic artists and rappers which we will slowly be putting out as and when they get done. So, we’re really excited about that for now. Hopefully, by the time we get done with the album, the live music industry will open up.”

Watch the video for “Restless” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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