Listen: Donn Bhat Sophomore Album 'Passenger Revelator'
13 October 2014
This is an album we’ve all been waiting for. Since his acclaimed debut LP – ‘One Way Circle’ dropped just over eight (!) years ago, Donn Bhat is back with his massive, collaborative sophomore release ‘Passenger Revelator’.
Thankfully, Bhat hasn’t been a complete stranger all this while – he’s been steadily performing with his live band over the last year at the country’s best festivals, only increasing the anticipation that already existed for ‘Passenger Revelator’. The 11 track LP finally dropped on 10 October this month, and it’s worth a listen.
‘Passenger Revelator’ begins with the gentle tones of ‘Stars Align’ – an easily likable track featuring longtime collaborator Toymob aka Ashhar Farooqui, who will also be touring with him this month (more details below). ‘The Sun’ follows with the same electro folk tones – this is a particularly accessible sound that builds tempo around looping strings that ultimately builds into an electro folk frenzy.
Bhat provides two beautiful versions of ‘Say It Again’, the first featuring the voice of Sarosh Nanavaty and the second remixed by experimental electro imprint Frame/Frame. Both use unique instrumentation, incorporation marching beats and melodic xylophones to accentuate Bhat’s intensely deep vocals. The two tracks are very different tonally – Nanavaty provides her sultry vocals to a more classically produced rendition, while Frame/Frame produces a more contemporary version with textured beats and an heady dose of his electronic sensibilities.
‘Passenger Revelator’ is full of surprises. ‘Was An Animal’s’ sounds (in both tracks) sees a deviation from Bhat’s regular sound – he flips his normally smooth production for bass heavy and textural noises. Audio Pervert’s abrasive remix of the track is particularly enjoyable. Track ‘107’ features the reverberating voice of Baul singer Malabika Brahma erupting over Bhat’s beautifully structured string, while on the other extreme ‘Disco Disco’ (with Sarosh Nanavaty, once again) sees Bhat incorporate classic disco beats and synth. Rock has always been an influence on Bhat, never more emphatically than on ‘Samson Delilah’ – a beat heavy headbanger of a track while enjoyable and a predictable crowd pleaser, might not be as polished or experimental as his other sounds.
The one notable drawback of ‘Passenger Revelator’ (which you might have gathered), is cohesion. The lack of flow between songs is immediately noticeable and incorporates, quite frankly, just too wide a range of sound. While it undoubtedly takes talent for an artist to stray away from the constraints of genre, Donn Bhat could do well by streamlining and conceptualizing his next album better.
On a positive flipside, ‘Passenger Revelator is a big album. Sonically diverse and structurally rich, Donn Bhat (despite minor flaws) delivers and provides something in here for everyone. This is an album, and an artist, we highly recommend you listen to.
Words: Diya Gupta