By Anurag Tagat
It’s already the third month of the year and also, as some may point out, a whole year since the world had changed irreversibly. What stayed, as we’d hoped for, is the music – whether it’s songs of unity by Lucky Ali and Eliezer Botzer or a tribute to an animal companion, created by Madhav Krishna and Prateek Gandhi.
Amaraya – Lucky Ali and Eliezer Botzer
On their second collaboration together, Israeli artist Eliezer Botzer and Indian pop veteran Lucky Ali invoke nature, self-reflection and togetherness with Amaraya. This precedes their debut single On My Way, which released last year and launched their upcoming album Lemalla. Lucky Ali’s weathered, emotive voice sings a Hindi verse but also joins Eliezer in the enchanting Arabic chorus. The song also ties together flute leads and tabla rhythms.
Zen – Kalika
We saw Sanjeeta Bhattacharya portray an important, intimate story of love with her solo single Khoya Sa in February and now, Pune act Kalika brings her to the front once again on the song Zen. Bhattacharya not only sings about the importance of being levelheaded, but also (literally) fights the patriarchy in the cheeky music video. Kalika founder Prannay Sastry, for his part, brings out twangy West African music-inspired guitar lines.
Begaana – Iram
On Bengaluru band Iram’s latest single Begaana, there’s swaying layers of keyboard and acoustic guitar and starry lead guitar portions to go with vocalist-guitarist Neil Simon Abel’s distinct Urdu vocals. The song, as the band mentions, revolves around existential questions as well as feeling like a misfit of sorts. This marks a slow evolution of Iram’s sound out of ambient, dreamy pop to more molten, proggy music that’s grandiose in its arrangement.
fever dreams – morèno ft. pruthvi
Mumbai producer moreno aka Prajyot Meshram teams up with singer Pruthvi Dhawale for an ephemeral electronic song called Fever Dreams, which is released by Mumbai label Krunk Kulture. The collaboration between the young duo yields soulful vocals but also roving electronic elements, with moreno adding in deep drops as well as sublime bass and seemingly unpredictable beats to hold it all together while also keeping the listener guessing.
Kala – Naqaab47 ft Shoals and Rebel 7
Pairing orchestral hits, pendulous leads and tabla beats, New Delhi producer duo Shoals continue their strong-running collaboration with rapper Naqaab47. On Kala, they have got rapper Rebel 7 as well in on it, with the two rappers keeping it short and concise when it comes to their punchy verses about their respective journeys as artists.
In A Mood – Cosmic Attic
Part of alternative band Black Letters from Kochi/Bangalore, guitarist, singer and producer Sharath Narayan’s side project Cosmic Attic has often come across as his outlet for experiments in the electronic music realm. With his latest single In A Mood, there’s a little bit of that familiar electronic side that has seeped into Black Letters, plus smooth guitar melodies and the strum of an acoustic guitar to keep things vibrant. With his distinctly bittersweet and wise vocals, he’s arriving at realisations, even as he surfs waves of dancey elements.
Call Of The Void – No Hero
Hyderabad-based artist No Hero aka Akhil Kodamanchili channels all the best things about industrial rock and nu-metal that we love into his new song Call Of the Void. Think Nine Inch Nails and the more melancholic style of Linkin Park, No Hero brings in a menacing riff, swathes of lightheaded synthesis and a robotic beat to be laid as the ground work for his anguished vocals. Dubbing it prog electro rock, there’s definitely some downcast yet powerful songwriting.
Whiskey Sour – Semwal
From the town of Karanprayag in Uttarakhand, singer-songwriter Semwal has been creating impressive futuristic R&B music with his EP Elephant in the Room, which released in 2020. Now he takes a completely different turn with Whiskey Sour, a simple and short ditty that’s constructed like a homage to The Beatles and the earliest wave of pop-rock, complete with jangly rhythms and a sing-song chorus about love.
Sitting On the Fence – Mali
Taken from her debut full length album Caution To The Wind which released earlier this week, Chennai/Mumbai singer-songwriter Mali takes a lot from synth-pop on most of the record, but then she’s always worked in glimpses of her overall music inclinations. Sitting On The Fence, for example, builds on a choppy drum beat, bright synth work and effect-fed vocal harmonies which stick right from the get go.
Ennodu Vaa – Madhav Krishna and Prateek Gandhi
After a few notable stints as playback singer in the film world, singer Madhav Krishna teams up with producer Prateek Gandhi for his debut independent single, a saccharine Tamil song called Ennodu Vaa. Featuring heartfelt lyrics by Jayashree L Narayanan, the song stands out for a refreshing topic in the saturated space of love songs, because it talks about the connection between a human and their companion dog, reminiscing about sweet memories accrued, with guitar-led pop production.