Listen: Dualist Inquiry Releases ‘Dreamcatcher’ LP, Reveals Tour Dates
20 September 2016
Whether it was his intention or not, Sahej Bakshi has become the poster boy for the Indian-indie scene. He’s got the image down pat, commands stages at some truly enormous festivals worldwide and is amongst the few homegrown musicians to amass a loyal fan base that runs into the thousands across the country.
It was 2013’s ‘Doppelganger’ that first shoved Sahej into the spotlight (following the Dualism EP in 2011). The album was - particularly at a time when rock still dominated the scene and more mainstream electronic music had only started to surface - a revelation for a lot of people. The accessible, pop/rock influenced guitar mashed with drum machines and synths we heard in the album made for electronic music that was for once, made with the objective of being heard, as opposed to catering to a dancefloor. Quite simply, it put an Indian electronica album on the same map as pop, rock and other more (at that time) ‘legit’ and ‘serious’ genres of music.
The years following ‘Doppelganger’ saw hype for Dualist Inquiry with show after show at big commercial electronic festivals like Ultra, lots of DJ sets and the like, but radio silence on the next release. He recently told Fame Magazine that the pressure to jump over to the ‘EDM’ side was a significant deterrent in the creative process – it took time for Bakshi to find himself again and get down to making something which he describes as “the most ‘me’ music” he could write.
And we can back up the fact that Dualist’s latest - the ‘Dreamcatcher’ LP, harks back to the days when Bakshi, was a true juggernaut in the scene i.e., irrespective of what you think of his music, it was original, recognisable and inspired many of today’s promising producers to just get their work out. And since the album launch at NCPA in Mumbai and subsequent shows, Dualist Inquiry is dealing with a flood of positive support and appreciation from devoted fans and fellow musicians.
‘Dreamcatcher’ is going to make a lot of Dualist fans very happy. Having said all that, however – it’s unlikely that the album will make you a sudden fan of the musician if you didn’t already enjoy his work i.e. the album may be a big improvement on his previous releases but it is meant for an audience that enjoys his brand of electronic and pop-rock music - it’s distinctly Dualist.
Like a lot of his previous work, Dualist’s ‘Dreamcatcher’ LP is built on a foundation of pop melodies, heavy guitar and choppy vox. What sets this album apart are the collaborations; Sahej doesn’t just direct the people he works with; they play an active, constructive role in building the album’s sound. Charismatic MOSKO frontwoman Kavya Trehan’s resounding voice fits like a glove over Dualist’s plush keys in ‘Zero Hour’ and (particularly) ‘Opaque’. Earworm track ‘Trainwreck’ sees more than a little influence from Chennai alternative rock outfit The F16s; Nicholson teams up with Sahej on ‘For Joss’ - a soulful, expressive and satisfyingly well-rounded song that’s our favourite on the album (so far). Bakshi’s solo work doesn’t lag behind either. Apart from a couple of forgettable tunes here and there (‘Divide’, ‘Meraki’), the production’s much more detailed than what we’ve heard before, whether it's in the undulating rhythms of ‘Sleepwalker’, energetic percussion of ‘Delirium’, heavy synths of ‘Rivals’ or catchy percussion in ‘Violet’.
You can listen to it for yourselves below and follow Dualist Inquiry on Facebook and SoundCloud for updates. Head over to Bandcamp to download the album for free. Scroll down below the embed and check out Dualist Inquiry’s dates for his album launch tour.
Words: Diya Gupta