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Hear Pune Seasoned Rock Artist Shitalchandra Kulkarni’s Pacey New Song ‘Ice Hockey’

The multi-instrumentalist and composer from bands like Tungztn talks about how he separates his music from music education, plus his album ‘Endless’

Anurag Tagat Jan 04, 2022

Pune-based rock artist and music educator Shitalchandra Kulkarni. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

How does it happen that an artist out in Pune is influenced by a (mostly) North American sport like ice hockey for his music? “I don’t have a brilliant answer for it,” composer Shitalchandra Kulkarni says with a laugh.

There is an answer, however, and it’s a fairly satisfactory one. Kulkarni, who has just released “Ice Hockey” as the 10th song off his ongoing album Endless, says, “The movement of the game reflects the vision of the song, I used this acoustic and electric guitar combination to mirror the way the game is seen.”

With virtuoso guitar leads and fast-paced with agile percussive elements, “Ice Hockey” also showcases Kulkarni’s most formative inspiration as a musician – American guitar ace Paul Gilbert (known for his solo work as well as his leads for metal/rock band Mr. Big). “Whenever I get back to these artists [like Gilbert] I discover something new. I don’t copy any of them, because I can’t copy a signature. I use it to teach myself,” the multi-instrumentalist says.

Teaching is actually another side to Kulkarni, who has been a part of the rock music circuit for over 30 years with bands like Tungztn (aka Tungsten) and the erstwhile group Tallfathins. Out in Pune, the Institute of Modern Music was founded by his father Suhaaschandra Kulkarni in 1965 and now takes up most of the guitarist’s time. There’s also Chords India, a studio opened in the same premises. “I’ve always balanced things. It’s also been a challenge, but I’ve had this burning creativity for the instrumental project [Endless],” Kulkarni says.

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In the works for two and a half years, Endless so far has 10 songs out. Tracks like “Dark Street,” “Water” and “Super Ride” cover a good amount of sonic ground – from prog that’s serpentine and searing in turns, to “Innocence,” which is driven by string arrangements.

Even though he’s released albums with Tungztn in the past, Kulkarni has eschewed the old-school mode of releasing an album in full, instead going song by song. “I’m not against albums but I thought I’d go slower. People often don’t have the time today and it’s better to be more accurate […] Every track is a gem for me,” the artist says. Adapting to the times, Kulkarni goes on to be refreshingly frank about the way music is released and heard today. “It’s not about producing the song in your studio. That’s just the start, it’s probably only 25 percent. Then there’s building awareness via social media and [application] Linktree. The concentration to get your music across – there’s a science in it,” he says.

Coupled with the fact that these are instrumental tracks, Kulkarni says he’s received a good amount of attention from people who weren’t usually into this style. He also teamed up with an automobile company to have songs off Endless played in their showrooms. A total of 20 tracks are expected from the project throughout the year. Kulkarni adds, “I’m releasing them as time progresses.”

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Listen to “Ice Hockey” below. Stream on Songdew, Spotify and Apple Music.