Chennai band Oxygen emerged from the lockdown stronger, thanks to their music bank.
The group’s latest musical offering, The Metagen Project, comprises six songs set to different moods. While ‘Saraswathi’, the recently-released first song from the series, has Carnatic overtones, other numbers including ‘Northern Lights’ and ‘Yin Yang’ bring together several elements of world music.
All the songs are from their music bank, which they revisited during lockdown, only to discover that they had more than 30 song ideas that were not executed yet. Composer C Girinandh sprung into action, at their Aura Studios in T Nagar. “The first song we took up was named ‘Fifth Dimension’. We work organically; while percussion ideas come in, I try to put in a melodic representation,” says Girinandh.
Things picked up once other band members too started giving ideas. In order to add more musicality to the project, Oxygen roped in a 20-piece orchestra called Tenor Strings, headed by Francis Rosario.
“Audiences usually connect with a singer. But, as we are a predominantly instrumental band, we wanted to explore newer ways of presentation. Lighting simulation helped us present our numbers better,” states Girinandh.
Most of the songs do not stick to one genre, but instead go through “lows and highs”, adds the band’s percussionist, KS Ramana. “The skeleton of our songs take about a month, and our mood changes within that time span, which in turn gets reflected in it,” he says describing album, which has been mixed and mastered in Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio, and also graded in Dolby Vision.
The Metagen Project is special for the band for it has just completed 20 years. “Forming this band was like an inception point for many musicians, who have gone on to excel in music. It gave us the confidence that we could take up music as a career,” recalls Girinandh.
That confidence has only grown in the post-lockdown phase, with more OTT players seeking newer musical styles. “Since the pandemic, there are no regional boundaries. With the number of platforms coming up, our music — world music, on instruments — has a global appeal.” On the cards are different experiments with music, including one that will involve liquids. “We are trying a concept of how a pattern gets formed in liquids when music is played near it.”