Listen: ‘Lovesongs’ by Aniruddh Menon
20 January 2017
Aniruddh Menon’s ‘Lovesongs’ was officially released earlier today via Bangalore record label Consolidate, but bossman Rahul Giri sent the album to me earlier this week to have a listen. Menon’s work as a solo artist, collaborator or with his excellent band Machli has been consistently good, but this – this one is special.
It’s albums like these that make music journalism worth it. After all, the whole point of writing about music (“dancing about architecture”) was never to get you to read, it was to get you to listen. And ‘Lovesongs’ is the kind of album that compels our kind to crawl out of dingy, dimly lit, slightly rank single-bedroom music journalist apartments, find unsuspecting bystanders, catch them firmly by the shoulders, lean in close enough to count the blackheads on the tip of their nose and whisper – “bro, you gotta listen to this.”
An instrumental, experimental beat tape (loosely, if you like compartmentalising your music), ‘Lovesongs’ is a journey through nostalgia, sentiment and love. The album has a heavy dose of unidentifiable but obviously Indian samples manipulated and tweaked to work with undulating basslines and mangled melody. There’s understated, cinematic drama right from opener ‘Surpanakha’ down to Disco Puppet’s expressive, heartbreaking collaboration ‘Sunsets’, as sweeping melodies take over Vishu Kani (here’s where you’ve heard it before) and Pardafash’s hypnotic voice becomes a fitting closer for a rare album.
It might not be perfect – there are songs that we’ll go back to more than others, bits that for whatever reason didn’t work as well as they could have. But the album is beautiful not because it aims at perfection, but because it aims at honesty. Aniruddh Menon probably never intended it, but ‘Lovesongs’ is an album for us – for the generation that exists in limbo, unable to genuinely and wholly identify with anything on music’s vast spectrum anywhere. For us, the album feels like home – a reminder of who we are, of the places we come from, the people we meet and the people we love along the way.
Words: Diya Gupta