#ReviewRundown: March 2020
Our verdict on the freshest releases, featuring Ape Echoes, KillKount, Minaxi, Avi Misra and MÜNE
MÜNE – Emotions EP
Indore producer MÜNE aka Pranay Sharma has been making tunes from a bust up old computer that’s probably half the age of the 25-year-old at this point. While dancefloor friendly EDM has been conquered, Sharma looks deeper within to battle his own demons on the highly cinematic Emotions EP. It’s an elegant selection of songs that still retain some of his radiant electronic imprint, best heard on tracks like the string-laden “Mind Collision” and the surreal opening track “Memories.” Choir-like layers swell up on “Fuck Negative Vibes” and there seems to be catharsis on the title track. More of a collection of thoughts than something fully cohesive and gripping, Sharma still manages to craft a listen-worthy sonic detour into ambient music.
Minaxi – Khwab
Is there a little bit of Mumbai in Indian-origin shoegaze band Minaxi’s new album Khwab or is it more an indication of how common environments are in metropolises all over the world? Based out of Brooklyn and the brainchild of guitarist-vocalist Shrenik Ganatra (who was raised in Mumbai), Minaxi traverse Hindi and English languages to explore moods of longing and dreams. Songs like “Stargazer” are must-hear for any fan of dream pop, but “Zidd” might test the listener’s patience. “Moist” is suitably wistful and “Last Night” is explosive yet seething, as is “Ae Khuda” and the drenched-in-noise “In The Blur.” Save Khwab for a late night blast of psych rock that’ll keep you up.
Avi Misra – Sketches by the Birrarung
In case you ever wanted to hear what Delhi-bred, Melbourne-based Avijit Misra’s distinct, booming baritone would sound like over pumping electronica beats, his “truly first Australian album” Sketches by the Birrarung should give you the best impression. Built out of fairly simple but effective four-on-the-floor beats over shimmering Indian instrumental elements like the sarangi (“Boat People”) or organ (the shapeshifting “Wala”), “Millennials” takes a while to build up to perhaps tease too much. There’s dreamy frenetic beats (“Kurilpa”) and somewhat hit or miss Hindi vocals on “Smith Street.” Worthy gems include “Tabhu’s Question Marks” and when Misra finally gets it right with Indian classical vocals on “Third World War,” a spacey, multilayered favorite.
Ape Echoes – Charlie Dreams of Escape
One of India’s most sublime acts to combine electronic music and jazz, Ape Echoes take the craft even further and manifest an album called Charlie Dreams of Escape. Loosely following the inner thoughts of a self-described perfectionist, there’s wobbly synth, swathes of robotic beats and a lot that’s mesmerizing on the 10-track album. There’s Indian flavors that are just subtle but “Myopic” stands out straight off for its smoothness, while dark-swing dominates “Always Almost There.” Guests such as Azamaan Hoyvoy bring loaded hooks to the groovy “In Shades” while the title track elevates the record, followed by a bittersweet jazz turn from singer Shreya Bhattacharya, interpreting Walter De La Mare’s poem “Silver.” It’s about as sublime as it gets, which worries us just how much Ape Echoes will level up when they release their next.
KillKount — Konflict & Terror
Based in Pune and Mumbai but originating in Bhopal, KillKount have been consistent with their brand of slamming brutal death metal (and the liberal use of the word ‘K’) in the six years they’ve been around. Their debut album Konflict & Terror is testament to the fact that KillKount are well on their way to joining the likes of Godless and Gutslit in becoming one of the most intense bands on record and on stage. Songs like “Memento Mori” and the title track immediately launch into slice-and-dice death metal, guttural growls included. Sukhna, Darjeeling vocalist-producer Aakash Sherpa (from metallers If Hope Dies) adds more visceral energy on “W.M.D.” while songs like “Korpsified!” and “The Koffin Feeder” are instant moshpit mobilizers. Konflict & Terror is incisive and cutthroat in its intent and we hope Indian metalheads are listening.