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The album cover

The album cover  

Artist: Donn Bhat Album: Connected

It is raining releases in India’s independent scene, and knowing how long everything takes in a scene like ours, a lot of these albums and EPs are long-awaited. And just as the cliché goes, the wait makes it worth it.

Mumbai-based producer, guitarist and vocalist Anant ‘Donn’ Bhat has been working on what was originally an EP called Connected more than a year ago. In the time that has passed, Bhat has added more tracks and converted Connected into a full-length album.

The record’s cohesiveness is apparent not just from the theme of living in the digital age, where information whizzes by at the speed of light (or faster) and how all social relations have changed thanks to technology (to simplify it), but also in its sonic makeup, where Bhat is joined by the likes of sarangi artist Suhail Yusuf Khan, vocalist Ashhar Farooqui aka Toymob and percussionist Anand Bhagat.

In 34 minutes, in just seven tracks, Donn Bhat is sublime like few other musicians in the country, or even in the world. Bhat has worked on his craft for more than a decade now and it is indicative as much on his early work like 2006’s One Way Circle as well as his second album Passenger Revelator, which ensured he was the toast of the alternative scene.

Connected eases in with ‘XXL’, Bhat’s guitar work standing out first, and then synth lines that easily remind you of a digital setting, with Toymob reminiscing, “Do you remember/when we had all the time?” In his jadedness, akin to the sadness of Moby, Bhat spins up an instant classic with the downbeat ‘Connected’.

He works with a multi-layered guitars on ‘The Storm’, with Toymob’s slithering voice singing “You’re only a dreamer/waking up from sleep” over Suhail Yusuf Khan’s kinetic sarangi refrain.

After more despondent vibes on the hypnotic ‘Spinning World’, Connected takes a turn for the cheeky with ‘The Beer Was Over’, which is the essence of Donn Bhat’s fun side – cinematic and fast-paced. It closes with a stark turn, on ‘Desh Bhakti’, which is a dark condemnation on jingoism, atmospheric with bells tolling and Toymob’s spoken word-like delivery.

In just seven tracks, Connected remains a testament to one of India’s most versatile artists who navigates both electronic and rock terrains like only a handful of others.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:34:05 AM |

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