Wild City Singled Out: Q1 2024

Wild City Singled Out: Q1 2024

17 April 2024

Wild City handpicks the most interesting tracks released by artists in South Asia in our monthly feature - Singled Out. If you’d like us to listen to your music, send the relevant info to music@thewildcity.com

‘Astronaut Beduk’ By Turqua

Create riffs out of a collage of samples and underline it with hip-hop drums and funk basslines and that gives the refreshingly ingenious EP ‘Chidiyaghar’ by Aditya Jha aka Turqua. The EP opener ‘Astronaut Beduk’ is the most meticulous demonstration of it, packing equal doses of energy and emotion.

‘Bachcha Kisko Bol Raha Hai’ By Saniya MQ x Kavikaar

On a cursory listen, the mature musicality of the track didn’t let me consider that this was a work by younger-than-usual rappers and also aimed (in part) at a younger-than-usual audience. Produced by Mumbai-based Hashbass with rappers handpicked from The Dharavi Dream Project, ‘Bachcha Kisko Bol Raha Hai’ is a testament to how deep desi hip-hop has pervaded and how liberating it can be as a form of expression, as the two young rappers give more seasoned artists a run for their money with their flow as they rap about being undermined and the rift between art and academia.

‘Ghostships 7 Derelicts Of Space’ By Synths Back

It has been a good start of the year for compilation and ‘Bønewax Vol.1’ by the New Delhi label and online radio Bøne.fm is one we haven’t given enough showcasing to. The compilation is filled with great entries from the likes of Moebius, TMPST and 5yndik8. However, Synths Back manages to give a unique and power-packing combination that carries the retro nature of video game soundtracks and the oomph of Bollywood disco but with an evergreen funk of house music.

‘Sau Dafa’ By Shashwat Bulusu

For his first release after going independent from his previous management and label Pagal Haina, Vadodara’s Shashwat Bulusu has combined two of his previous major styles as his deep Hindi lyricism, which surely finds roots in ghazals, combines with the style of spacious laidback indie-rock ballads.

‘Talaab of Blue’ By Pluto Monkey

There is a subdued nature to the music on ‘Ethnic Transmission’ by New Delhi’s Antriksh Mohapatra aka Pluto Monkey. The music doesn’t necessarily place itself as the centre of attention but can easily settle as the background score for any life within the global generation of India. As the title of ‘Taalaab of Blue’ suggests, there is a juxtaposition of Western and Indian in that life to create a coming together that’s both immediate and awkward. A similar quality goes for the music which takes samples of life in the country and presents it within contemporary genres. Not a trick that has not been attempted before but at the hands of Pluto Monkey, receives a conviction to assemble just enough elements to create a focused emotion or vibe and nothing more.

‘Adivasi’ By Swadesi ft. Prakash Bhoir

The Mumbai multi-lingual rap crew Swadesi join forces again with Warli tribal chieftain Prakash Bhoir, nearly 5 years after the pair’s ‘The Warli Revolt’ became an anthem for the local community. With a clear vision of its purpose, the track instils pride by shedding light on the history, the way of life, the problems and its opposing resilience of some of Mumbai’s oldest inhabitants as the refraining melodic cry of “Advasi // Ami adivasi” (Adivasi // We are Adivasi) attains more and more power with each verse.

‘Yuh’ By Till Apes

Over a hanging airy note saxophone, jazz and funk harmonies ring as piano arpeggio runs before Hanumankind’s raps kick in alongside the rhythm section to create the defining energetic confluence that the Bangalore supergroup is known and loved for.

‘Samsara’ By Hybrid Protokol

One of the most consistent duos of Kolkata, Hybrid Protokol has sworn to keep electronic music live, making sure every element is created new in their performances. The merit of that approach is evident in the spaciousness and the balance between experimentalism and stylistic accessibility of their EP ‘Samsara’. While ‘Dhariyan’ might speak better to that balance, it is the textural title track that provides the most gratifying journey of an elaborate buildup towards a surprising destination.

‘Electric Avenue’ By Peach Blok, Sakré

The collaborative track between Bangalore’s Peach Blok and Sakré from the former’s EP ‘Iris’ takes the heavy groove-making and audio manipulation reminiscent of DJ Shadow and mixes it with more modern influences from ambient and a guttural bassline.

‘Door Se Ye Darmiyaan’ By Krameri

While Gujrat-rooted Krameri’s album ‘INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS’ has a few rough edges, it packs layers and layers across styles to unpack and find something you’d like. Among them, her venture into Hindi lyricism resulted in the best track from the album ‘Door Se Ye Darmiyan’. The single makes the best use of the singer-songwriter’s atmospheric voice while presenting a kind of soft lo-fi ambient take on Hindi-pop that remains rare.

‘Skin To Sea’ By Long Distances

The opening track from the remote collaboration-born band Long Distances’ debut EP ‘How the Mighty Will Fall’ intertwines metaphors for the impermanence of lives and existence with the impermanence of a past relationship. With no frills or forced tricks, the track turns back to heartfelt guitar-rock done with passion and energy – a feat and joy that remains evergreen when done right, like here.

‘Troglodyte’ By Dee En ft. Sijya & Arpan

Almost as much as its standout music video, ‘Troglodyte’ by New Delhi group Dee En is a colourful affair full of styles and emotions. There are various occasions where the variety doesn’t complement each element. The opening rap verses and the spoken word taking away from the tranquil emotions of the production’s ambient bed being the prime example of it. However, in instances like the return of the fuller arrangement in the latter half of the verses by Delhi’s Sijya or at the song’s melodic chorus, Dee En’s ingenious ability to build abstract immersive layers shines through in its synth textures and syncopating yet grounded percussion. For that alone and the ambitiousness of its music video, ‘Troglodyte’ is a welcome release which sees Dee En experiment and expand with the help of its contemporaries.

‘Medicate’ By Krithi

The distinction of cultures in the elements that Brooklyn-based Krithi uses and combines effortlessly becomes less important behind the impressive energy that the low-end stabs carry on her EP ‘Coping Mechanisms’. From it, the mysteriousness and syncopations that draw you in on ‘Medicate’ are her at her most musically captivating.

‘Coming Alive’ By Dualist Inquiry

It is a welcome sign that Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry is more abstract and introspective on his long-awaited album ‘When We Get There’. It makes the album not just a welcome offering for long-standing fans who gladly revel in more of what the indie-electronica frontrunner has offered over the decade, but also a growth and experimentation that convert a fresher generation of listeners. As the second track on the album, ‘Coming Alive’ is the ushering of that growth as Bakshi lets a detuning riff carry the journey through lo-fi drums, vocal samples and eventually sprinkles of santoor and recorded ambiences while still brandishing Bakshi’s ability to to tie together easily digestible melodies.

‘There’s Something There’ By Khus Fir

Rishabh aka Khus Fir’s ‘Forts and Forests’ will undoubtedly go down as one of the best albums from Indian indie in 2024. With uncharacteristic and unique performances of acoustic instruments being arranged like jigsaw puzzles i.e. surprisingly cohesive, complementary and detailed when put together, Rishabh builds an entire colourful, whimsical and magical world full of wonderful stories. He takes you in it from the get-go with ‘There’s Something There’. It’s worth it to see the entirety of it.

‘Speak Low 2’ By Disco Puppet

Previously Bangalore but currently Nepal-based Disco Puppet released an alternate version of the lead single from their 2022 album ‘Love and Other Depressing Things’. The stripped-down version puts the focus on the songwriting and sincere emotion of the most tightly written composition by one of the country’s most unique alternative artistic voices.

‘can we go home now?’ By Toys for A Coma

The EP by Bangalore duo Toys for A Coma is first and foremost intriguing. It’s both meticulous (just hear the beautiful melodic run of the opening skit ‘stockholm’) and yet irreverent. For instance, ‘can we go home now?’, a song that seems to be about togetherness, care, comfort and perhaps being overwhelmed has a middle section that’s just a spoken word about what civet coffee is. Yet, for today’s times where quickly-moving attention and distraction with a pinch of humour in nihilism is the norm – the EP ‘i don’t quite remember your name but all that i see is your face’ is its most fitting product.



Words by Amaan Khan

Artwork: Khus Fir's 'Forts and Forests'


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