New music from around the bend

Six new indie releases to get you through the dreary week

It’s been raining new music in India these past few weeks. Here’s a hand-picked selection of some albums you ought to listen to.

Bartys Path: Where Is Everybody?

It turns out that some of the best music to sprout from the rock music scene in the country has started rolling out after most traditional rock bands have retreated into the shadows. This is great, because it leaves people like Arjun Iyer, better known as Barty’s Path, to experiment free from the constraints of rock’s homogeneity and actually make some art for art’s sake. Where Is Everybody?, his first full-length album, is a curious listen, with a globe-trotting narrative that seems tailor-made for afternoons in the lair and maybe even late-night drives. It’s also rich enough in small details to keep your attention throughout. We’re looking forward to more.

DJ Skip: Bass & Tings

He’s been lauded as one of India’s finest turntablists and live performers for a few years now. New Delhi’s DJ Skip finally comes out with a debut release titled Bass & Tings. It’s a tight, five-song record that dabbles as much in traditional rhythmic elements and sampling as it does in atmospheric hip-hop and bass music. While the album doesn’t stray too far from old tropes, its sparse nature allows Skip plenty of room to showcase some skills in his most comfortable department: scratching. Album closer ‘DIVA’ has a sensuous vocal laid atop pleasing low-frequency. Bass & Tings is available for free via Bandcamp.

brnsctr: ARTLESS

When discussing music producers in the country, brnsctr (pronounced brainscatter) isn’t a name you often hear. Maybe Abhinav Singh is just too busy working on mastering his tiny synthesiser rather than cementing his image by building an Instagram following. Or not. Either way, his latest stream of flotsam to hit Internet-savvy audiences is ARTLESS, a taut, 20 minutes of whimsical, recondite, beat-driven electronica. And though it could be considered a more focused effort than his King Brain Mixtape from 2014, it still sits in the grey area between active and passive listening. Now for a rare compliment: almost all of the 10 ‘ideas’ lounging away in ARTLESS deserve at least some degree of exploration. Maybe Singh will bless his compatriots with a full album someday, who knows.

Romya Pothuri: We Never Left

This is the kind of music that I would imagine fresh-faced students would hold hands to outside St. Xavier’s College, stopping to Instagram the rainclouds before the choruses roll around. Or perhaps people would listen to it while considering quitting their jobs forever. In an annoyingly short line of local, female songwriters, the Missouri-bred Mumbai transplant stands out with her debut release We Never Left. Lyrically, it falls right in the comfort zone between heartfelt and saccharine, without being silly, thankfully. Pothuri also exhibits praiseworthy command over her voice. While the four songs won’t have people jumping to any conclusions just yet, it’s still a very listenable record. That’s partly thanks to her backing band: a potpourri of talent from Mumbai. Available for approximately Rs. 65 via Bandcamp.

Opposite Sex: Opposite Sex

I can’t quite tell if this was Opposite Sex’s intention when they set out to record this music, but their EP sounds a lot like an audition tape for ‘Quirky music needed for a TV commercial’. Picture this: a gaggle of quirky college kids doing quirky college kid things with some quirky, inoffensive music playing in the background. In the short span of 20 seconds, a pitch for a sports watch or a 4G subscription or a holiday in Goa follows. Fortunately, those adverts only last about half a minute before they’re relegated to the back of our minds. I, for one, find it hard to get past half a minute on each song of Opposite Sex’s self-titled debut. Perhaps it’s your cup of tea? Available via OKListen for Rs. 60.

Bitmap: Bitmap

Drummers possess a better understanding of the nuances of rhythm than most people. They’ve consistently been putting out some of the most exciting, beat-oriented music available in the world today. Mumbai’s Harsh Karangale, drummer for indie darlings Sky Rabbit, is out with a suitably exciting, five-song EP of hybrid, end-of-days music. Karangale’s sound as a solo leans far away from the accessible, pop-like sensibilities of his band. Here, he blends industrial electronica, drone music and noise with a handful of traditional musical elements, not to mention its backbone of noteworthy live percussion. If there’s anything to fault in this EP, it’s that it isn’t weird enough.

The author is a freelance music and culture writer.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:56:08 AM |

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