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Samar Mehdi Preps New EP ‘Guruub’ For Release This Week

The Bhopal fingerstyle guitarist and singer-songwriter crafts a polished, layered record to follow up 2018’s ‘Urooj’ EP

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Anurag Tagat Sep 06, 2019

Bhopal-based fingerstyle guitarist and singer-songwriter Samar Mehdi. Photo: Vaibhav Kakde

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Fingerstyle guitar is best known as a hack for any musician who wants to make their sound as big as possible with just one instrument. Bhopal-based singer-songwriter Samar Mehdi knows this all too well, but he still decided to go ahead and reverse engineer songs for his second EP Guruub by using multi-track recording. Mehdi says, “It was the most difficult thing I had ever done, because I had created all these sounds together, so it was a lot of fun. It gave it a bigger production.”

The result is four tracks of breathtaking poise, exhibited not just in bass, percussion and guitar lines by Mehdi, but also his distinctive croon. On the bittersweet “Iltija,” the first single off the EP that was released in August with a music video, Mehdi sets the mood to unrest and melancholy. He states in an accompanying press note about the meaning of Guruub, “[It’s] based on the darker side of twilight and it is this time of the day that has always had an inexplicable power over me growing up. My mind could never quite process the feeling enough to give it an apt name, but it was a distinct, specific feeling and it seemed to originate from this time of the day.”

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Recorded at Bhopal’s Adanj Studio by Mehdi’s sound engineer Aman Arakh (who also worked on his 2018  debut EP Urooj), Guruub employs atmospheric sound samples that make it best enjoyable on headphones. Mehdi and Arakh recorded four tracks over the span of two days, given a free reign by the studio. “Aman, my engineer and I would sit down at 8 o’clock at night and record through the night and get back home in the morning and come back in the evening. That was amazing,” Mehdi says.

Previously helming lead guitar duties for Bhopal metal band Acrimony, Mehdi agrees there’s always going to be an influence from heavy music in his solo tunes. You can hear mind-bending grooves on “Saraab” and intricate melodic fills on “Intezaar.” He says, “Acrimony is why I’m able to do this. I give this advice to anyone, I just tell them to get into metal and try and make songs that are impossible to play and go after it.”

The same as Urooj, Mehdi is releasing Guruub exclusively via his website first, on September 8th, followed by a formal release on streaming platforms on October 8th. He knows it’s “not normal” to get sales on a debut but agrees that something seems to have worked in his favor. “It’s a great option to have and it lets you have that wave and then another wave comes with social media and the streaming platforms,” he says.

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Watch the video for “Iltija” below. Pre-order the EP here.

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