New Music: Kerala Thrash/Death Metal, New Delhi Blues, Electro-Pop from Assam and More
Tune in to the latest from composer-pianist Divina Bajpai, Chennai composing duo I and Self, electronic duo HelloDuck and singer-songwriter Arnav Maggo, amongst others
You & I // Toi et Moi by Divina Bajpai
On her third record, New Delhi/Hyderabad pianist-composer Divina Bajpai transports listeners to Europe with enchanting flourishes across three tracks. Appropriately romantic, You & I // Toi et Moi opens with the whimsical “Minuet – falling in love on a carousel” featuring guitarist Divyang Bajpai, while “Dance – dancing by the Seine” is an orchestral and rousing soundtrack. While there’s hints of waltz in Bajpai’s music, she also turns to more modern arrangements on “Nocturne for Divyang – in Monmartre,” which is punctuated by subtle chill electronic elements, electric guitar and piano.
“Jenny” by Sushant Thakur
Part of acts such as Big Bang Blues and formerly of psychedelic rock act SkyEyes, New Delhi guitarist Sushant Thakur turns singer-songwriter with his solo project, digging into a dusty, confessional blues song called “Jenny.” On his debut track, Thakur roars like a broken man pining for lost wealth, while he ploughs into distinctive blues licks.
“Saazish” by HelloDuck
On their second track off the upcoming EP Yaadein, West Bengal-bred duo HelloDuck dig into a warbling heartbreaker of a bop. Producer Manish Das and singer-songwriter Swayam Majumder channel a little bit of Hindi electronic music champion Ritviz but build up to a quaking drop on “Saazish.” In action since 2018, the duo had previously released “Jeene De” off the four-track Yaadein.
Withdrawal EP by Ashwin Hiran
Kerala-bred multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Ashwin Hiran comes across as a wide-eyed sonic explorer on his electronic/ambient debut EP Withdrawal. Although he’s drawing from places of pain and loneliness, there’s a sense of ease and smoothness on “Tell Me,” and seamless shifts between Indian classical vocals and poignant string sections on “Recurring Dream.” Inspired by the likes of guitarist-composer David Maxim Micic and Canadian electronic duo Tennyson, “Unsmoked Cigarettes” is tender, while the title track heaps on prog guitar, vocals from Lakshmi Priya and ambient soundscapes.
“Galangdw” by Zupiter
Previously remixing songs like “Thandi Hawa” by Ritviz, Assamese producer Zupiter comes into his own with his new single “Galangdw.” The cheery, acoustic guitar-aided electronic-pop track is about a solitariness and the accompanying music video shows us just that – following a young woman who leaves home and hitches a ride, while longing for a loved one in a not-so-traditional fashion.
“Aa Chalein Hum Kahin” by Arnav Maggo
Released in January, New Delhi singer-songwriter Arnav Maggo’s second single “Aa Chalein Hum Kahin” builds up like a rock-inflected modern pop song – complete with weighted pianos and a distinct guitar lead. To proportionately channel a sense of jadedness and frustration with being stuck in a rut, Maggo’s voice is slow and distant as he yearns to move out of a new town and look for new surprises, wonders and meaning.
“Me, the Ocean and the Sea” by I and Self
Formed last year during the lockdown, Chennai music composers Aravind Murali and Jaishankar Iyer come together as I and Self, providing cheery yet environmentally conscious music. Their fourth single “Me, the Ocean and the Sea” features classically trained singers Malgudi Subha and Amrit Ramnath, bringing an upbeat tune about the sea, complete with a music video and vivid art that shows the musicians spending a day at the beach.
“Im-perfection” by Harken
One of the newer pissed off bands on the block, Thiruvananthapuram thrash/death metal band Harken burst out the door with their debut single “Im-perfection,” which released on February 1st. Part of their upcoming self-titled EP, the five-member band run through fist-tight metal reminiscent of Brazilian metallers Sepultura before heading on a blast beat-riddled death metal warpath.