Lifafa Releases New EP: 'In Hi Ko'
8 May 2014
‘In Hi Ko’ is the title that Suryakant Sawhney has given his second release and first EP as Lifafa. The album cover in its technicolour simplicity hearkens back to the not-so-distant past when hand painted billboards bedecked the streets of our cities as angry young men and voluptuous, doe-eyed women stood tall above the throngs waiting to get a ticket to watch films that have come to define our cultural landscape. Give the four track EP a listen and what you get is a synaesthesic homage to the sounds, colours and themes of the bygone days of Indian cinema and its music.
That said, ‘In Hi Ko’ cannot be reduced to a simple trip down memory lane – it’s a kaleidoscope of textured, layered synths and electronic pulses that beautifully distort the human voice in that unique way only electronic music can. Lifafa describes his music as future/past on SoundCloud and if you give the EP a listen you’ll understand why the term is so apt.
The album opens with the slick title track that fuses cyclical and clearly lovelorn vocals with a low, pulsating base, producing nu-Hindustani, lo-fi disco sounds and foot tapping beats. ‘In Hi Ko’ is followed by ‘Tofah’ - melodic and cheerful number that contrasts repetitive synths and impassioned vocals.
Lifafa brought back the heavy sounds of 'Lifafa I' with ‘Agnee Redux’. The original ‘Agni’ was a standout on its album as a gritty, bass heavy piece but Sawhney takes the tune to a new level in ‘In Hi Ko’ with ‘Agnee Redux’, by adding formidable vocals that transform the track to something more cinematic and expressive.
Finally, Sawhney took a risk with 'Irradon' and extended the track to almost 8 minutes, which could have stretched it too long if it wasn’t so damn enjoyable. The dance soundscape, with its slurred vocals and coarse bass was released as a teaser to the album along with 'Tofah' and was played at the Magnetic Fields festival, getting some great responses from the crowds.
All this is just what I could gather from my first few listens – ‘In Hi Ko’ has some really original sounds and Lifafa makes it clear to his listeners that he is constantly evolving and changing. The EP hits you hard not just in the quality of music but in the way every element - from the track titles to the art- makes the album a subtly cohesive whole that isn't forced or pretentious in any way. You can give the entire EP a listen here and see what you make of it:
Words: Diya Gupta