Listen: Frame/Frame Releases ‘Pariah’ EP
11 February 2015
We’ve been waiting a while for this one.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Nikhil Kaul, better known as Frame/Frame, has become one of the most loved figures in Indian music. After the release of the haunting, whimsical single ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland’ and its b-side ‘The End Of The World’, the immensely talented musician makes a bold move with his new 4-track EP – ‘Pariah’, upping the bpm and experimenting with percussion and bass in ways we haven’t really seen before from the artist.
We’re not going to mince words. ‘Pariah’ was a risk. That risk however, pays off and what we have at the end is a no holds barred, raw yet nuanced EP that delivers some quality, innovative dance music with high replay value and just the right touch of Kaul’s experimental tendencies. A large part of the change in sound comes from ace percussionist and collaborator on the EP - Sahil Mendiratta (though we prefer his musical moniker ‘Inspector Maal’). He’s been performing live with Nikhil over the last couple of months and it’s a marriage made in heaven.
‘Pariah’ takes a surprising turn in both tone and tempo. The EP strays from the vocal heavy, melodic and at times minimal sounds that we’ve come to associate with Frame/Frame, instead taking a darker path embroidered with emphatic percussive snaps and snares, deep basslines and almost sinister grooves. It’s clear that a lot of care and precision went into making ‘Pariah’ - from his composition and the quality of his production to the EP title and the evocative post-apocalyptic artwork, which he also happened to design himself.
The self-titled earworm of an EP opener makes Mendiratta’s influence quite clear from the get go. His excellent skills in percussion form an essential foundation for most of the sounds in ‘Pariah’. Vocals (distorted, robotic) feature only in the moody ‘Vagabond and Wasted’ and the EP ends on a gentler note with the elegant, chiming ‘Papillion’.
“'Pariah' is the past one year for me. A lot of these tunes were written with or worked upon in the presence of Sahil who was also very responsible for the change in sound you're about to hear. A fair bit of the music has been thrown out or kept aside for future releases. The songs were written with a huge focus on playing them live as that’s something the both of us have really enjoyed doing in the past few months. There was a conscious decision to go back to making dance music. Not too many people seem to remember, but that is how I started out with Frame/Frame. Though by dance music I don't mean the cheesy, thumping nonsense that's being churned out and packaged as EDM. The idea was to keep the sound warm and generally friendly enough to want to sneak a listen to at home.” - Nikhil Kaul
This is a solid, ambitious release that’s well worth downloading (it’s available here for free on Bandcamp). We suggest you give the entire EP a listen below and see what you make of it for yourselves. Follow Frame/Frame on Facebook and SoundCloud to keep updated and if you’re in Delhi, drop by Hard Rock Café tomorrow for the EP launch.