Answers by Aditya Balani

By Purushotham Kaushik on 11/01/2014 at 4:36 pm

Answers by Aditya Balani
Answers Aditya Balani
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  • Bandish (Prelude)
  • Bandish
  • Prarthna
  • Sandhya
  • Answers
  • Mirrors of Time
  • Reflecting
  • Quicksand

‘…Time stood motionless and I found the Answers…’ – Liner notes of Aditya Balani’s Answers

Imagine you’re befuddled trying hard to imagine an abstract scientific concept (say vector spaces). Equations dance around you and manifest in things you see in everyday life. Symbols dangle from auto meters, sway with the coconut trees and bleed in sunsets. Listening to ‘Answers’ conjures a similar effect. It is abstract, imaginative and powerful.

‘Bandish’ is a two part haunting melody with an alap based on the Charukesi scale, that aptly sets up the main piece. A Bruebecky number with a ‘Delhicate’ touch, though set in 5/4 time, it is deftly executed and right from the onset you know this band interlocks masterfully. Tarun Balani’s drumming exquisitely rises and falls around the melody lines.

‘Prarthana’ opens with an interwoven piano riff in 6/8, culminating in a crescendo chorus. Aditya Balani’s solo is sedate and gradually induces chaos, on which trumpeter Aaron Bahr builds. One feels that the final chorus would have been at home right after the trumpet solo. ‘Sandhya’ is a fast faced post-bop 5/4 time ride with a delightful coda.

The melody of the title track ‘Answers’ seems to be asking questions rather than providing answers. Mimi Hristova’s viola adds a Celtic touch to the melody and Sharik Hasan’s comping on the track is effortless and delicate; something that sits at the back and sends chill down one’s spine.

The clawed arpeggios and circuitous riffs of aptly titled ‘Mirrors of Time’ portray a run-against-the-time activity in everyday life like doing a pile of dishes five minutes before your bus arrives. Time, the urban devil, has never been more aptly sonically represented. Aaron Bahr’s segue into the trumpet solo is haunting.

The first part of the final song ‘Quicksand’ is an ode to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’. The song slowly progresses into somber moods, invoking desert sands and oases, reiterating the central theme of the album as presented in the title track.

Answers is a blend of good old fashioned hard bop and Indian-jazz. It has a bit of Giant Steps and Prasanna-Vijay Iyer’s Tirtha. It swings and swirls, gets morose and introspective only to be resurrected in a fitting climax.  It’s like taking a brisk walk on a cold winter morning, you want to get home to the warmth but there’s something exotic and mystical about hanging around in the fog that keeps you out longer.

About Purushotham Kaushik

Purushotham Kaushik is a freakish-blues guy with a Carnatic frame of mind and surreal poetic sensibilities.


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