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New Music: Blues from New Delhi, Piano Pop from Bengaluru, Prog Metal from U.A.E. and More

Check out the latest releases by New Delhi singer-songwriter Swati Bhatt and Arunachali artist Takar Nabam, U.K. veteran producer-DJ Zed Bias’ collab with Indian producer Stain, and others

Anurag Tagat Jul 26, 2022

(from left) Rishaad, Ruhee Ahamed, Big Bang Blues and Oxygen. Photos: Courtesy of the artist, Nikhil R. (Ahamed)

“Dhuan Lipa” by Akx, Agaahi Raahi, Adam Bo & Circle Tone 

Beyond the witty title that references pop star Dua Lipa, there are very real experiences of addiction and the love-hate relationship artists share with smoking on “Dhuan Lipa.” Rappers Akx, Agaahi Raahi and Adam Bo take on an aptly airy production by Lucknow’s Circle Tone to have a conversation about fighting their urges, but also finding themselves helpless.  

Salud Sessions Vol. 5 by Various Artists  

Bringing in the Eighties soundscape of disco, synthwave and synth-pop, the new volume of electronic music compilation Salud Sessions Vol. 5 calls in five artists for a whirlwind trip that can get any dancefloor in action. It features songs by Sahil Madaan, Knique, Synths Back, Himay and Mannequin Disorder. DJ, producer and saxophonist Madaan adds grandiosity with the vocoder-infused “Back To Disco,” while seasoned  artist Nikshith Shetty aka Knique taps into house grooves on “Conformity.” Synths Back provides escapism on “This Wave,” while Himay’s “Time” is exuberant. Duo Mannequin Disorder offer late-night synth-rock/pop on “Healdrome.”  

“Hold On To Me” by Ruhee Ahamed  

On the second single off her upcoming debut EP Things I Have To Say, Bengaluru singer-songwriter Ruhee Ahamed focuses on the present and takes stock of all the storms she’s weathered along the way for love and family on “Hold On To Me.” Playing out over a five-minute plaintive piano tune, Ahamed – who is part of fusion ensemble Bryden & Parth – sings emphatically about staying grounded in the here and now rather than worrying about the future, in a pop ballad style that’s rarely heard. The song follows her 2020 single “Maybe I’m Foolish.”  

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“Northern Lights” by Oxygen  

Formed in 2003, Oxygen is the genre-hopping ensemble led by composer and keyboardist C. Girinandh, who has now launched the group’s latest project, Metagen. The collaborative album, which traverses jazz, funk, Tamil and Bihu folk, has had two singles being released so far – “Saraswathi” in June and more recently, “Northern Lights.” The latter offers euphoric brass sections and the able melodies of Chennai-based 20-member orchestra Tenor Strings. Part of a total of 36 compositions, Metagen will be mixed and mastered by Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio.  

“Project 1948” by Callous Minds  

U.A.E. progressive metallers Callous Minds return with a stomping new single “Project 1948,” produced by New Delhi’s Yatin Srivastava. Bearing a few fusion flourishes that seem to take inspiration from Indian classical and Arabic music, there are beatdowns aplenty on their third single this year, which takes aim at injustices, pain and suffering.  

“Delhi Birds” by Zed Bias and Stain  

Manchester-bred garage producer Zed Bias and New Delhi-based DJ-producer Stain aka Sourodeep Guha teamed up in the midst of the former’s India tour and created the intriguing electronic song “Delhi Birds.” Released via Boxout.fm Recordings, the riddim-infused sonic trip through the capital arrives just after Stain’s U.K. tour, performing in Derry at the Celtronic Festival, in London and Brighton.  

“Scarlet Skies” by Swati Bhatt and Takar Nabam 

The slow, calming lilt of singer-songwriters Swati Bhatt and Takar Nabam on “Scarlet Skies” reminds us to celebrate “the present and beauty of the undivided.” The soul-searching song features Bhatt on vocals, while Nabam also helms vocals, guitars, keys/synths, bass and production duties. The duo is joined by drummer Teji Toko and trumpeter Tiziano Bianchi, with drummer Suyash Gabriel completing the lineup by helming cheery percussions.  

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“Tu” by Rishaad  

Gurugram-based melodic rap artist Rishaad turns on the charm and affection of a sweet-natured lover on his latest single “Tu.” The Hindi song takes a page right out of the books of Drake and other hip-hop/pop purveyors with a hint of desi-rap influence. Rishaad’s commanding cadence takes us through the ups and downs in his love life, anchored in buoyant beats with the occasional nod to guitar melodies. 

“Love of a Mother” by Big Bang Blues 

New Delhi blues-rock band Big Bang Blues tug at the heartstrings with a gentle and straightforward ballad for those who bring life into the world. On “Love of a Mother,” guitarist Sushant Thakur takes over vocal and composing duties, while also ripping out ace lead sections. The first of five more songs releasing over the next few months, Big Bang Blues recently wrapped up a tour in June and have more shows planned later this year in the Northeast and South India.  

“Step Into My Mind” by Ankur Das ft Soyam Dean, Foxy Rahul and Anand Murali 

Following the release of his debut solo EP The Annoying Dasaralibeans in 2021, Bengaluru artist Ankur Das has teamed up once again with vocalist Soyam Dean, bassist Rahul Chidambaran aka Foxy Rahul and keyboardist Anand Murali for “Step Into My Mind.” With a sparkling sense of songwriting, the track has slinky jazz/funk and neo-soul guitar hooks that expand and turn atmospheric with help from Dean’s chill vocals through the course of seven minutes.