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Stream: Experimental Electro-Acoustic Act Gumbal Launch Debut EP

The Mumbai/Delhi duo plan to recruit members and perform live in March

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Jan 30, 2014
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(left) Satish Sridhar and Arjun Iyer. Photo: Tabish Photography [tabishphotography.com]

(left) Satish Sridhar and Arjun Iyer. Photo: Tabish Photography [tabishphotography.com]

The first time we heard of electro acoustic act Gumbal, which takes its name from the Tamil word for crowd, was when vocalist Siddharth Basrur tweeted a SoundCloud link to the track “Albatross.” Basrur also endorsed Gumbal’s vocalist Arjun Iyer, whose vocal style is uncannily similar to his. When we asked Gumbal’s Delhi-based bassist Satish Sridhar he joked that “Arjun is a Basrur doppelganger.”

Gumbal’s new six-track EP A For lives upto Basrur’s praise. A concept EP straight from its artwork to its song titles and even composition, Iyer says all songs were written in the key of A on the music scale and represent a “narrative of an outcast.” Says Iyer, “It starts with the figure of an outcast referred to as ”˜The Albino’, who goes into a flight of introspection [“Albatross”] and that makes him feel god-like [“Annatchi”]. Then he becomes the man [“Alpha”].” Under 12 minutes, A For contains a mash of samples, guitars [both acoustic and electric], bass and mellow electronica sections. Iyer says “Alpha” was the only song he had originally written for Mumbai experimental rock group Eatshootleave that he adapted for Gumbal.

Iyer met bassist Sridhar in Delhi in December and recorded Gumbal’s six-track debut EP A For over three nights. Says the guitarist, “Last November, we wanted to do an electro pop album, but then decided to scrap all those songs and make this EP.” Sridhar adds, “It [the music] was very spontaneous, like a natural outcome. The more we play together, it becomes a multi-genre project.”

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Gumbal may make it to stage by March, with additional band members and more new material. Says Sridhar, “It’s a very intricate setup.” Iyer adds, “It [Gumbal’s music] will have to include samples, and we’ll need a MIDI sampler as well as another guitarist. The other reason Gumbal will have to wait until March is Sridhar’s work commitments. Sridhar works as a copywriter in Delhi and plans to visit Mumbai a month later. Says Iyer, “We have to figure out logistics and work on more stuff for at least a half hour set.”

Stream and download A For by Gumbal here

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