For the current crop of Indian indie artists, playing the basic guitars, bass and drums is not enough. Every other artist seems to have been bitten by the electronica bug. Suryakant Sawhney, vocalist with Delhi-based rock band Peter Cat Recording Co (PCRC), picked up a synthesiser a while ago and began writing ambient/glitch-hop tunes. Nine of these tracks find their way on to an album Lifafa I, which Sawhney releases under the name of Lifafa.
A lot of them aren’t too special and there is an element of hazy, lethargic songwriting borrowed from PCRC. But if it was meant to be an experiment, it’s definitely thrown up some interesting tunes. It’s not very difficult to stitch beats and ambient soundscapes together to make a catchy, dream-pop loop. However, when Sawhney’s lovely vocals welcome you in the opening track, ‘Los Gatos’, with pleasant clinks chiming in, you realise it’s probably not meant to take a lot of effort to make good music.
There’s a familiar haunting tone to ‘Whistling’, which is a typical glitch-hop composition that features heavy modulation. Another common element, the synthetic pseudo-disco beat, is found on ‘Boa Gombay’, which everyone probably misreads on the first go.
A few more listens to Lifafa I will certainly change your mind about electronic music, especially when a song as pleasant and surreal as ‘Boa Gombay’ fills your headspace. Before you even find your way out, you’re entrapped in the sinister, acid-house-influenced ‘Agnee’, a perfect sound for a bad-ass action sequence for a Bollywood film from any era, really.
‘Villain’, on the other hand, is bewildering, and certainly not dark.
Towards the end, when Sawhney’s even-more-modulated-than-before voice kicks in on ‘Swarm in here’, Lifafa I begins to convey its hypnotic allure. Barring a few tracks, it’s a noteworthy start to Sawhney’s electronic work. Now, let’s hope he gets back to that PCRC album.
Bottomline: It’s definitely thrown up some interesting tunes.
Lifafa I; Lifafa, Self-released, available for a pay-what-you-want download on lifafa.bandcamp.com