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#ReviewRundown: October 2021

Our verdict on the latest releases from Mocaine, Prematron, Suniil Bhatia, Lil Gorkhay and more

Anurag Tagat Nov 02, 2021
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Mocaine – The Birth of Billy Munro

★★★½

From stomping, grunge-informed rock to despairing blues and swirling psychedelic, New Delhi act Mocaine’s debut full-length album The Birth of Billy Munro plays out like a rock opera, except it’s more morose than grandiose. From the twisted, slammer of an opening track “Billy” to seething adrenaline on “Pistol Envy,” there’s a hushed moment of clarity on the opus that’s “Narcissus,” followed by drifting into uneasy states of being (“Fancy,” “Psilocybin” and “There’s Been A Summer”). When another epiphany takes shape on “The Bend,” Mocaine does a solid job of honing in on it, making The Birth of Billy Munro a sublime storytelling experience.

Prematron – Incarnate

★★★½

Bengaluru-based metalhead and electronic music producer Premik Jolly aka Prematron has released his first solo material since 2017 with Incarnate, a seemingly reflective, synth-heavy dive into ambient, psybient and chill electronic. The opening title track condenses all those moods and vibes into a seven-minute sojourn, while “Tears” bides its time and stays gimmick-free and heartfelt. Basslines lead the way on “Bhramas Breath,” laced with a vocal sample and starry guitar work. Prematron spreads his wings wide for the rest of Incarnate, delighting with synth trips like “Shinjuku” and cinematic spacey excursions like “Rigel VII” and “Pulling Up.” Incarnate quickly becomes a journey well worth embarking on.

Lil Gorkhay – Drillology EP

★★★

Ever the prolific rapper from Siliguri, Lil Gorkhay aka Bibek Giri releases a quick-paced and concise turn towards the drill style on his new EP Drillology. Known for his aggressive, no holds barred manner of delivery, no one’s holding Gorkhay back on songs like “Guff” and “Oracle.” There’s a bit of Nepali rap and a reference to government vaccination efforts on “Gorkhay Drill” as well, which makes you do a double-take and hit the repeat button. “Jhagra Halla” goes at breakneck speed as Gorkhay takes down the competition and stakes his place out. A distinctive voice on every second of this EP, Drillology comes across as a brief but punchy experiment from Lil Gorkhay.

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Khalnaïk – The Lover Loser Leela

★★★★

Goa-based artist Yash Naik aka Khalnaïk has a clutter-breaking idea in terms of packaging and releasing music with The Lover Loser Leela. It’s an audio experience that recounts parts of Ramayana in a play format, punctuated by songs. While there’s a separate podcast series that was released to coincide with Dusshera, Khalnaïk is a world-wise, acoustic guitar-toting singer-songwriter on the mixtape that dazzles at every turn. “(Two) Oddballs” is a breezy opener, there’s an arresting Hindi song “Ghayal” and the aptly celestial tune “Waxing & Waning.” The instrumentation does get fuller as we progress, with dark electronic fusion on “Durga (Surrender)” and a saccharine guitar melody paired with nimble percussion on “Miracles.” The closing track “Jack Out The Box” is tender and heart-filling, making The Lover Loser Leela a whole new take on mythic lore, one that’s contemporary and unafraid of adaptation.

Purpose – Purpose 1

★★½

Chennai rapper Purpose aka Akash Batti starts off eerily on his first-ever mixtape with “Low Lives (intro)” but then he quickly enters this irreverent space that comes across as reactionary for the sake of it more than anything else. He opines confusingly about genders (bordering on transphobia) and veers wildly into misogyny, projecting it as machismo. There’s genuinely gripping rap narration on “BLR2” about a substance-fueled few days that gets busted and personal demons on “Stains (Part 4)” and Purpose doesn’t waver in his conviction or volume (like on the boisterous “Prayer & Confession”) but a little tact can go a long way. Especially when hip-hop has become more inclusive and less hateful around the world.

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Suniil Bhatia – A Brief Memory of Time

★★★

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer Suniil Bhatia takes to calming instrumental music on his album A Brief Memory of Time. Spanning 14 songs and clocking in at just under an hour, there’s a transitionary  element that runs throughout, making for a chill listening experience with songs like “Where It All Began,” “The Connection and “Time Traveller.” Bhatia gets into chill-hop on “Remembrances” and “Can you hear me?” while “Mirrors of the Sun” is measuredly stargazing. He adds vocals for a prog-leaning, dreamy title track. Bhatia gives some tracks the electronic treatment (“Joy,” “First Love,” “Groove It”) which adds to the diversity of A Brief Memory of Time. Although “The Club” is a bit puzzling in its arrangement, Bhatia recovers with trip-hop on “Distortion” and late-night jams (“Kya Ho Gaya Hai”). There’s a lot of sameness running through the album, but Bhatia manages to keep things soothing enough that gives it an easy flow for listeners.

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