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New Music: Cinematic Synthwave, Enchanting Acoustic Fusion, EDM/Hip-Hop and More

We round up the latest from Jaipur duo Abhin & Tanish, Vancouver-based Indian-origin producer Shamik and Guwahati singer-songwriter Sumangal Baruah, amongst others

Anurag Tagat Nov 03, 2020

Jaipur duo Abhin & Tanish, who released their debut single "Kami Hai." Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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“Kami Hai” by Abhin & Tanish

Jaipur-based duo Abhin & Tanish have been performing and writing music for about two years now, which likely makes their debut single “Kami Hai” a labor of love. Abhinandan Joshi and Tanish Khandwal craft a headphones-suitable lush yet minimalist listening experience with “Kami Hai,” a gentle contemplative song about absence and what’s caused it. Anchored in a guitar melody and vocals, the song swells to roomy drum work, sarangi portions and a heavy focus on finessed instrumentation.

Lost and Found EP by Vivek XR

New Delhi rapper and composer Vivek XR aka Vivek Sharma hits upon the sweet spot between EDM and hip-hop on his new EP Lost and Found, knowing his worlds of voice and beats exceptionally well. The six-track record brings together short but punchy songs about introspection, the importance of childhood (“Baat Kal Ki”) and more. He’s picked up on deft production that’s mostly informed by an old-school hip-hop sound, going well over ominous verses by Vivek.

Dissonance by Del-Usion

New Delhi beatsmith Del-Usion aka Yashoodep Yadav concocts a surreal yet sometimes friendly blend of synthwave, EDM, orchestral elements and more on his new EP Dissonance. Channeling years of experience in sound design, opening tracks like “Deviance” and “Dysfunction” deliver a bright introduction to the four-track EP but then it swerves into murky waters on “Distress” and “Dangerousness,” which closes the record on a cacophonous mystique-heavy note.

“CityLights” by Lavanya Ayren

Mumbai-based singer Lavanya Ayren teams up with producer Aditya Mhatre for a reverie-like synthwave and vaporwave-meets-rock blend on her fourth official single “CityLights.” Perhaps best suited to a late night out in the open (as the artwork suggests), Ayren sings wistfully about dreaming big and keeping those goals alive in a metropolis.

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“Someone, Someday” by SubSpace, Adeline Um

Indian producer SubSpace collabs with Korean-American singer Adeline Um for an intriguing, buoyant new song called “Someone, Someday.” Brimming with hope, the song offers a sort of East-West fusion, with Um’s breathy vocal melodies tailor-made for EDM, which SubSpace delivers in familiar yet charged-up conviction. The two beat drops in the three-minute song bend synth patterns in a manner that’s reminiscent of Indian melodies, making it readily memorable.

Golden Light by Denis Stern

Globetrotting guitarist, composer and educator Denis Stern set up in India as faculty at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music near Chennai a few years ago. Over the last two years, however, he’s been gathering musicians from eight countries for his new album Golden Light. Equal parts meditative and euphoric in its fusion, Stern recorded the album in Ibiza and Israel and included his trusty Taroud, a unique instrument that’s a cross between a Spanish guitar and the oud. While there’s Indian classical elements heard on songs like “Hafla,” the string section-aided title track is among the most evocative pieces on the album.

“Walking God” by Last Walk

On the third single off their debut EP, Jaipur metal band Last Walk talk about the pains of drug addiction, feeding it through the lens of gritty riffs and pacing metalcore rhythms. Interestingly, the band also notes that the song was written with the idea of Indian mythic figure Lord Kalki bringing the end of kalyug to the world, to “reset a new age of dawn.” In the music video directed by vocalist Shivam Sharma and drummer Vikas Sharma, the protagonist is seen going through distressing times, seemingly lured by a masked figure, with allusions to choices and drug withdrawal aplenty.

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“Crazy” by Sumangal Baruah

Feeding from a little bit of John Mayer and openhearted singer-songwriters who can croon their way to glory, Guwahati singer-songwriter Sumangal Baruah’s fourth single “Crazy” is a breezy, heartfelt listen. Drawing on metaphors of islands, oceans and storms, Baruah woos the girl in the most affable and charming manner you can hear, aided (in the music video) by his sister Sulakhyana Baruah, who performs an interpretive dance.

“Gaali” by Shamik

Vancouver-based Indian-origin artist Shamik Bilgi has been on the frontlines of experimental electronic music, opening for ace producers such as Flying Lotus and Dub FX and also touring with rap heavyweights such as Redman and Method Man. Teaming up with New York-based Bangladeshi visual artist Prithi Khalique, there’s roving, trippy and ever-morphing beats and bloops heard on his latest single “Gaali,” going over abstract yet bold animated patterns for a music video. At the center of it is a homage to Shamik’s Kannada roots, found in a chopped up vocal sample from an unknown film song.

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