Premiere: Aswekeepsearching Turn to Ambient on ‘Let Us Try’
The Pune/Mumbai band’s upcoming record ‘sleep’ was born out of the need to address anxiety and mental health
When news of post-rock band Aswekeepsearching‘s new ambient album sleep was out yesterday, amongst the first wave of comments that came from people was about why there was new music out so soon, when their third album Rooh was out in September 2019. Frontman Uddipan Sarmah makes it a point to dispel any misnomers around the band choosing to release music specifically during a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says, “This album was actually supposed to be out in February, but then Adhiraj (Singh, the band’s sound engineer) fell ill and we got delayed.” There’s certainly nothing opportunistic about sleep, an eight-track album that will bring together sparse and lush songwriting in the ambient and post-rock space. Sarmah adds, “Aren’t we artists supposed to express how we feel, the moment we feel it? Definitely there are some who take time to develop a way to express it, but I am fortunate to be around these bunch of bandmates who are so prompt on finding ways to express. That’s all it matters to this band.”
The idea to create an ambient album arose in October last year while the band was on tour to promote Rooh. “I would message the band at odd hours telling them I couldn’t get any sleep. This album has been a way of dealing with issues like anxiety that I had faced,” Sarmah says. The first record to feature drummer and percussionist Sambit Chatterjee (although not exactly featuring him in the role of a drummer, but more of a songwriter), sleep sees bassist Robert Alex take over guitar duties, while Shubham Gurung handles synth and production elements and their first song “Let Us Try” features go-to violinist and producer Ajay Jayanthi at his poignant best with string arrangements. Sarmah adds, “I was just directing everything and singing, that’s all.”
The first track is accompanied by a video shot by filmmaking agency Empty Cup Films that shows sparse trees slowly giving way to green foliage under the sky. Aswekeepsearching has six videos ready for each song off sleep and two more videos in the works, tying up with creative visual artists from all over India. We got about 30 or more mails from people who wanted to work with us on visuals. I picked a few and we got talking to them and explaining to them what we wanted.” There’s also artwork for each track created by illustrator Tanaya Sharma. Up next, more singles week on week, followed by the full record on April 17th.
Watch the video for “Let Us Try” below. Pre-order ‘sleep’ here.