Wild City’s Most Anticipated Releases Of 2015
2 February 2015
A new musical year has commenced and with it come the requisite lists, many of which you have undoubtedly seen floating around the Internet.
To make things clear, we’re not here to talk about the most popular acts (we wrote about that extensively here) or even, necessarily, our favourites. Case in point - Lifafa’s ‘In Hi Ko’ EP was one of my favourite releases last year, however, when I got in touch with Suryakant Sawhney to ask him when he planned to put out his next EP, he replied with a bewildered (and bewildering) “I just don’t know”. This is a collection of musicians who we avidly follow and are in the process of releasing something this year.
2014 was a great year for moody, angst ridden, minimal electronica coming out of dingy apartments and basements across the nation’s larger metropolises. A number of young (largely bedroom) producers have had SoundCloud accounts jam packed with sounds bursting at the seams with potential, but haven’t really announced any plans to move forward. We haven’t included them here but Bangalore’s Worm’s Cottage and brnsctr, Delhi’s One Sock Placebo, EchoFloat and the ever elusive Synthetic Lying Machine are worth listening to and just some of the new, original acts who we’re hoping will do something this year to gain some recognition.
Of course there are (and will be) many more artists in the coming year whose music we're curious to explore and we'll keep adding to the file as 2015 rolls on.
Here’s our initial list of musicians (in no particular order), who we’re counting on to make the coming year matter:
Bangalore band Machli hasn’t had a proper release or played live anywhere outside of their home city. They’re down to earth, unassuming, and just plain likable, however, it’s their music, brimming with potential, that's had us hooked since we heard them last year. Machli’s odd, unslottable sounds are strikingly melancholy, pleasingly melodic, contemplative and feature some beautiful vocals from their lead singer Sandhya. The talented four piece electro-acoustic outfit is planning on putting out their debut release very soon.
Rohan Hastak isn’t in any kind of rush. We know he’ll be putting out a release some time this year, though ‘when’ isn’t a word he encourages (“that’s anyone’s guess”). The BCH sound is big on bells and bold synths. Its heavily stratified basslines and contorted vocals also make for music that is equally enjoyable on a pair of headphones or the dancefloor. Without compromising on quality, BCH’s sounds may just be the most commercially viable in this list. Hastak’s last beat driven EP ‘Foreward’ had its ups and downs but the enormous potential that lay beneath its surface cannot be overlooked - we’re very keen to see where this one’s heading.
When former Jalebee Cartel member G ‘Force’ Arjun and classically trained guitarist Puneesh Suri announced that they had begun a new ‘experimental’ outfit called ‘Else If’ last year, we were very curious to see what would come of it. To put it plainly - the sonic snippets that they provided and delightfully unnerving artwork (could that be…Totoro?) caught us completely off guard. The largely (now) mainstream sounds of Arjun’s past were long gone and what we had in our hands was an innovative, interesting, surprisingly pretty set of samples studded with nautical basslines and tinkering overtones (here's our review). Snippets from their upcoming album are available on their SoundCloud page. Based on their captivating performance at Magnetic Fields Festival and what we’ve heard so far, ‘Else If’ have a very exciting year ahead of them.
Former Bicycle Days frontman Karthik Basker and producer Faheem Hassan (Avilente) are together known as Klypp. The duos breathtaking debut EP ‘Manifest’ has held our attention months after its release in March, when we compared their fizzy electronics and evocative vocals to the lofty measures of Mount Kimbie. Klypp’s music is at the same time innovative and accessible, immediately relatable and beautifully produced - it isn’t going to be easy to build on the standards they’ve created for themselves but we believe they have the talent (and will) to do it. The outfit is planning on releasing their second EP in coming months and we’re hoping to see a lot more live performances (hopefully here in the capital) as well.
Nobody is making music that sounds or feels quite like Begum’s. Their debut LP ‘Bagh’ was worth the long wait and grew on us with every listen. Its airy, dreamy, lo-fi brand of psychedelic/nostalgia rock might be one of the most genuinely likable and relatable works of music this year, and you’ll be surprised at how often and unthinkingly you’ll want to press play. Begum’s sound has an odd quality of being dismal and elating at the same time, often evoking a kind of bittersweet nostalgia that has helped carve a unique space for Begum in India’s music scene. We know they’re coming out with a new album later this year. Exciting.
Out of all the artists making the shift to production and electronica (and there are many) no one is taking quite the same route as Abhishek Bhatia. The frontman of alt rock outfit The Circus began producing music in 2013 under his new alter ego Curtain Blue. His immaculate production caught the eye of Berlin based artist (now his current collaborator) Robot Koch at the flagship edition of Magnetic Fields, who described him as being “somewhere between Apparat and Jon Hopkins”. Keep in mind, at this point Bhatia had barely released a handful of rough edits online, nothing more, each produced with unmatched detail and peppered with his customary chewed up drums and deep, despairing vocals. To say that we’re looking forward to his debut release this year would be a gross understatement.
Rahul Giri is one half of moody electronic duo Sulk Station with Tanvi Rao, as well as being a key figure and instigator of the music scene in Bangalore. The metropolis has consistently been churning out great music last year and his online music blog Consolidate has been a crucial window to its effervescent and exciting contemporary music scene. _RHL’s EP has been in the making for a long, long time but we’re hoping this year will see one of India’s most effortlessly talented producers appease his dedicated fan base in India.
The man behind the dark, bold assault of noise that is Audio Pervert - Samrat Bee, has just finished recording his album (over a minimal two week period) and as always, we’re curious to see what sounds the warped recesses of his mind will produce next. Bee’s loud, rebellious and oddly opiate ‘Dead Pixel’ LP as Teddy Boy Kill with Ashar F (Toymob), as well as his collaborative Indo-China venture SIMA only cemented his stature further. The Module1: Oscillate LP might have been one of the most elegantly produced, dark, gritty pieces of work last year. He’s no newcomer to the industry but after a year like that, Audio Pervert has certainly earned his place in this list.
Words: Diya Gupta
Image Credit (thumbnail): Meesha Holley