There seems to be something about Bangalore that tends to make artists turn over music that's brilliantly odd. And I mean odd in a good way. A wave of psychedelic music seems to be sweeping the southern capital of indie. Sulk Station is part of it at the moment. The Bangalore-based duo, comprising Rahul Giri manning the console and Tanvi Rao on vocals, released their first album after receiving much praise in the press for their live shows.
Coming back to what inspires them, one likes to think it's the almost always-overcast weather that the city is blanketed by, which is a perfect mood-setter for music like this. Elements of dark ambient, electronica and trip-hop kick in with the cleverly-titled Downlift, and carry on as does Rao's haunting croon in tracks like Take Me Home and Confession.
Other self-ascribed genres Sulk Station associate themselves with include post-dubstep and glitch-hop. An example of this is Contentment, which is grimy and catchy enough to reach straight in and pull out of the listener all things sinister.
As if Rao hasn't already earned our undivided attention right from the intro track Pause, she shifts effortlessly to Hindi lyrics with convincing Hindustani vocals. Some tracks seem minimalist in composition at first, but Giri steps in to sweep listeners away into layers of infinity. On Splendor, the vocals are eerie; but it never seems gimmicky. The instrumental outro clearly bears the mark of a Massive Attack fan.
There's a slow jingle of a tambourine that steadily builds up the pace in Bindya, beginning to match drum ‘n' bass effects. Don't be surprised if it ends up in a Bollywood film score. The conceptually-bound tracks Piya I and Piya II make one realise betrayal and dejection have never been better emoted. On the closer Wait, there's a bit of guitars from Kamal Singh, who fronts Lounge Piranha. The vocals are unwaveringly controlled, which makes listeners realise Rao masters both styles: the jazz-esque moroseness and Hindustani classical.
With Till You Appear, it's as though there's no better mood apart from gloomy contemplation. Might as well have it on loop, then.
Till You Appear; Sulk Station (2012), Self-released
Bottomline Dark atmospheric beats set to even darker vocals.