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Premiere: Bengaluru/Berlin Jazz Duo Tinctures Borrow from Indian Classical on ‘World 1-1’

Guitarist Nishad Pandey and pianist Aman Mahajan will release their project’s debut album ‘Heads and Tales’ track by track each Friday

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Anurag Tagat Mar 06, 2020

Jazz duo Tinctures - Aman Mahajan and Nishad Pandey (from left). Photo: Shailpik Biswas

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Guitar and piano jazz duo Tinctures – Nishad Pandey in Berlin and Aman Mahajan in Bengaluru – have had a long but rewarding process to release their new record Heads and Tales. Out via German label wismART and Hyderabad imprint The Sounds Within, the first song “World 1-1” was composed like most of the record – only when Pandey and Mahajan were in the same room.

Mahajan says about their first track, “Towards the end of October 2016, Nishad and I took time off to meet for a week in Bangalore. Because we found each other musically interesting, we wanted to see what would come of us sitting down together to compose. Named after the opening level in Super Mario Bros., ‘World 1–1’ was our first foray into co-composition, and essentially the piece in which we discovered and defined a lot of things about our composition process and the sound of Tinctures.”

The song changes tempos and moods, entering a final section that the duo call ‘tihailand.’ It’s informed by the idea of a tihai (a rhythmic phrasing) in Indian classical music and Morse code. Pandey explains, “Tihailand appealed to us (apart from the name which tickled our irreverent and childish sides) because we very much relate to the idea of taking familiar sounds and tropes, and putting them in unfamiliar contexts, and vice versa.” Mahajan adds, “We use math and concept-based approaches abundantly on our album. A lot of our music is improvised to try and portray themes which could be visual, literary or even conceptual… for example a painting, a photograph, a poem, or a specific mood or thought.”

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After an “engaging” run of shows and workshops across India in January, Tinctures even extended their travels to Berlin, performing in auditoriums and more intimate settings. Following the August 28th release of Heads and Tales in its entirety, there will be another India tour. The record, mixed by German engineer Sebastian Ohmert at Sonic Impulse Studio, will release song by song each Friday morning until August.

Listen to “World 1-1” below. 

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