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Consolidate: India's Newest Record Label Release FRNDS & FMLY 2016 Compilation

'Consolidate' is a music collective, blog and now record label we’ve believed in since Rahul Giri (_RHL/one half of Sulk Station) launched it on his own as a social media sharing platform last year, before partnering with producer, former Machli member and graphic artist Aniruddh Menon.

After officially launching as a label earlier this month with their single ‘Peach Tea Since July’, Consolidate has just released its debut compilation LP ‘FRNDS & FMLY 2016’, named after what began as a mixtape series (tune in here). Initially planned as a two track New Year’s release, the full length album now includes 8 tracks.

Featuring music by _RHL, new duo Aerate Sound, Aniruddh Menon and Pardafash (of erstwhile Bangalore band Machli), Disco Puppet, Oceantied, Zubin Aroz and Worms Cottage, the ‘FRNDS & FMLY 2016’ is a vibrant celebration of the Indian underground’s complicated sonic identity.

_RHL begins the album on an optimistic note with ‘Dard’ (Happy New Year!) before Aerate Sound glides in with the laid back beats of ‘Battle’ as Aniruddh Menon’s stellar track ‘Ugh’ follows with its convoluted melodies and languishing vocal samples. We were also very happy to see Pardafash (the solo project of Sandhya Vishvanathan; arguably one of the loveliest voices in the alternative space) up on the list with ‘Aja’ – an experimental track that features some very BMSR-esque synths we loved. Disco Puppet’s very weird, very original ‘Oriental Heart’ surprised us with its odd combination of heavy ‘drops’ (for lack of a better description) and field recordings. Oceantied’s ‘Ice and Fire’ is the only proper dance-floor burner on the list and precedes the lovely, layered melodies of ‘Because Dreams’ by new artist Zubin Aroz. Worm’s Cottage - one of our favourite Indian producers right now- closes the album with the placid, sultry tones and warbled vocals of ‘Borokhun’.

It’s a pleasant change to hear good electronic music that isn’t made to cater to your Saturday night party goers. Also commendable is how the Consolidate team walks a dangerous tightrope without falling - simultaneously appreciating and subverting the idea of what Indian music is supposed to be i.e. using Bollywood samples because you want to, because you think it adds to the music, not to simply reaffirm an identity we’re supposed to emulate.

Listening to ‘FRNDS & FMLY 2016’ was beautifully disorienting; original enough to evoke the mood and feeling it needed to, without descending too deep into the darkness of experimentation or ascribing to pop formulae. The experience was a bit like looking at flashing city lights in the night time through the translucent filter of frosted glass.

Listen to ‘FRNDS & FMLY 2016’ below and follow Consolidate on Facebook and SoundCloud for updates. Buy the album here on Bandcamp.

Words: Diya Gupta
Album art: Aniruddh Menon

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27 January 2016

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