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New Music: Bengaluru Hip-Hop, Kolkata Electro-Prog, Electro-Pop and More

Tune in to the latest from folk-rock band Whale In The Pond, Guwahati singer-songwriter Abhilash Choudhury and Siliguri rapper Lil Gorkhay

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Anurag Tagat Apr 14, 2020

Kolkata artist Rivu. Photo: Sharanya Dutta

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The Incident by Rivu


Kolkata guitarist, composer and producer Subhagata Singha aka Rivu follows up his dazzling electro-prog debut album The Incredible Journey of Light (2017) with an equally ambitious aim of crafting titanic soundscapes on The Incident. The four-part title track samples speeches by U.S. president Donald Trump but also voice samples from protests in India, set to trembling synth-lines and crunchy riffs. Orchestral and electronic production overtures aside, The Incident is definitely a guitar-centric record, jumping from prog (“The Incredible Journey of Light 3”) to synthwave (“Starquake Sonata”) with dexterous intent.

The Nowhere by Tintin, VAR!N

Fresh from Bengaluru and Chennai is a smooth hip-hop combination of Mahiniyaa Sai Bose aka Tintin and MC-producer VAR!N, concentrated into five tracks. The Nowhere starts with local references over typical trap banger production (“Ruminations”) but also reps young new talent such as U-A Music on the layered “The Woods,” rapper-singers Jayanth Potharaju and Hrithik Mehra (on the quick-paced “James Dean”) and Bianko Flowers on the very up to date “Nowhere.” While there’s hues of intoxicated trap, Tintin is at his openhearted best on the lo-fi synth employing “Family Meal.”

Dofon by Whale in the Pond

Diving into issues of identity, protest and history, Kolkata folk rock band Whale In The Pond’s new album Dofon kicks off triumphantly with “Aaij Bhagle Kalke Amra Nai,” which roughly translates to “If we run today, we won’t be here tomorrow.” The rest of the six-track record runs into a diverse, dreamier space that’s not necessarily as somber as the opener. Buoyed by feel-good acoustic guitars and clap-along moments (“Where Is Your Heart?”), Dofon is elegant in its use of piano and flute (“Kite/Loon”) and teases a groovy Bossa Nova song (“Nova”) before landing upon the cinematic, evocative title track.

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“Munasib” by Abhilash Choudhury

Taking a detour from his usual folksy, often pastoral tunes, Guwahati singer-songwriter Abhilash Choudhury lends his sublime voice to a more electronic track called “Munasib.” Produced by Choudhury, there’s a shuffling beat over a roomy kick that set the pace for his wistful vocals. The artist has very little to do with his trusty acoustic guitar on this, as he leads with synth parts and twinkly percussion which soothes.

“Ill Gorkhay” by Lil Gorkhay

Siliguri rapper Bibek Giri aka Lil Gorkhay is a breath of fresh air in the Indian hip-hop space, even in his vile growl-like delivery. His latest track and music video “Ill Gorkhay” serves as the intro to his upcoming album Gorkhawatt. As much as he’s pissed off about the systemic failures exposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lil Gorkhay throws down about how “The juices in my brain telling me, normal is easy, go insane.” Wearing a facemask and also seen using a Guy Fawkes/Anonymous mask, the Siliguri rapper seems to be all about the chaos.

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