Tag Archives: Ayan De

Slain releases latest single ‘Firesea’

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Bangalore-based progressive-rock band Slain has released their latest single titled ‘Firesea‘. The song features Siddharth Basrur of Goddess Gagged fame on vocals and Slain’s 17-piece-choir, The Choral Riff.

The lyrics of the song have been written by Manek D’Silva and Naresh Nathan, and the music was composed by Bryden Lewis, Jonathan Wesley, Manek D’Silva and Naresh Nathan. “The idea was to bring in someone as a guest and we figured someone who could do justice to a punchy track like this would be Sid Basrur, as he is one of Ranjit’s favorites as well. The unique blend of his vocals and the choir all add to something that sounds really big and brings about a rather epic sonic experience. The lyric video was done by Manek D’silva, wanting a very simple lyric video and allowing the song to speak for itself.” says bassist Naresh Nathan.

Interestingly, Bryden Lewis first thought of this song back in college when it was performed differently with another band. Bryden approached his current band-members Naresh and Manek to rework the song entirely. “I wanted the song to be inspirational, with a never-give-up kinda feel to it because life can be a test! There are a couple of more singles that will follow. We aren’t releasing an album yet. Our music is evolving with the change in lineup and this is the first original that we’re releasing with the new lineup,” says Bryden.

The track has been mixed and mastered by Keshav Dhar, of Illusion Audio and Skyharbor.
Lead Vocal Recording has been done by Ayan De at Midicore Studios, Mumbai and editing by Hriday Goswami.

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Blek’s Debut EP: Hexes + Drama and other reasons for evacuation

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An old joke I heard about these guys when they first hit the scene, was that they are the Gujarati version of Blakc, hence the name Blek! The band actually takes its name from the French graffiti artist Blek le Rat – commonly referred to as the father of stencil – and not from any of the more entertaining ones devised by fans.

They’ve been around for a little more than a year now and they certainly seem to have moved in the right direction. They aren’t a new and distinctive-sounding band as such, but they are in a space by themselves in the blossoming Indian punk scene, managing to cramp a lot of the aggression, normally associated with the genre. However they don’t fall away to the modern mainstream punk sounds of Green Day and Fall out Boy and have the distinction of being the first band to be managed by ennui.BOMB Records.

The EP blasts away with ‘Hexes + Drama’, a song that appears to be dedicated to someone called Jolene, where Rishi pledges all sorts of silly stuff for her. Jared’s bass work is typical of live gigs, with a solid driving bass. Though, what I found pretty annoying was the guitar effect prevalent throughout the song!

Running into Walls Occasionally Helps’  was a song I had first heard at the Rush of Blood blood donation drive at Inorbit mall. The song has a semi-staccato bass line that contrasts beautifully with the guitar riff, although the chorus reminds me of a certain “amma dekh” riff.  The band convinces you that it has a foot-fetish, with lyrics like “Every time I’m hungry, I’ll lick your feet girl” – kinky to say the least. The song closes with a glorious outro that I wished was longer.

The third song has the same rhythm pattern as the second, although the songs don’t sound the same. ‘Minus the Makeup’ has awesome catchy riffs and the chorus riff is brilliant. Jared sticks to his punchy groove bass lines matching Varun’s straightforward driving rhythm.

‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ shares its title with a Bill Murray film and, much like its namesake, flops. The song starts with a drum intro and… surprise, surprise; it’s the same rhythm again! I found the song a tad boring and listened to it again, but even that didn’t help, so I skipped to the next track.

Finally, a different rhythm makes an appearance on the next track, ‘Fog + Strobe’, with clap snares and a positively disco-sounding beat. The chorus sounded very familiar but I couldn’t figure it out so I gave up trying. Interestingly, the song closed at 3.35 on the player so I was wondering why the band had left more than double that time on the recording. I scrolled ahead looking for maybe a hidden message or to see if it started up again and was rewarded with one of my favorite songs on the EP at exactly 8.39 on the timer.

‘The Monkey Song’ is one of their catchiest songs and I loved this song at the launch where Linford D’Souza, a friend of the band, helped out with some great percussive work. The recording does not disappoint either, capturing the same tight rhythm work and the pace of the song.

The music was produced by Ayan De and mixed and mastered at Midicore Studios who have in the past worked with releases from bands like The Colour Compound, Rosemary and Bones for BertieAlthough the mixes on most songs sound fine, the overall product lacks that punch. This is a feature evident on some of the studio’s other releases. Rishi’s vocals suffer the most, as in all of the songs; his vocals don’t make the impact I wished they would.

The EP features a gloss envelope cover with minimalistic art work. Although the EP was initially supposed to be only for free downloading, the band decided to print a few physical copies for fans who wanted them. A worthwhile effort it would seem, as many people have heard the music online and then bought the CD. It’s at the give away price of Rs. 50/- only so it’s more than worth the cost, and definitely a great prelude to an impending album.

Howard Pereira

Howard is a guitarist with Mumbai based bands, Dischordian and Overhung. His other interests include drinking, comic books and occasional writing.

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Two Night : Max Clouth Trio and Bones For Bertie at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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The rather clichéd title of Two Night somehow made me feel like I was heading for a grind-house kung-fu double-feature. I’d never heard either of the featured bands before and I hoped to be pleasantly surprised.

The introduction to the Max Clouth Trio that I’d glanced at on the Blue Frog’s event page was interesting to say the least. The lineup was formidable and highly accomplished, with the widely respected Karl Peters on bass, the very accomplished and experienced jazz musician Benny Soans on drums, and Max Clouth of course, on guitars, with a highly impressive resume at a relatively young age.

The gig began without much ado, and at a fairly decent time for a change. Each of them was somehow dressed completely out of sync with the others; Max Clouth in a shirt and trouser, Karl Peters in a t-shirt, track pants and a cap, and Benny Soans in a long, red bohemian tshirt and jeans.

Max started out on the electric guitar, and the band got into a nice rhythm playing some fine up-tempo blues. It was soon clear why Karl Peters was so highly regarded as, as they played two of his compositions. The bass lines were sublime and complimented Max extremely well, while he led the way, and Benny Soans on drums was solid as ever without being extravagant.

Max’s double acoustic guitar was a curious looking instrument (and for some reason also looked a little DIY). Its tone however, was mesmerizing. The trio went into a jam frequently which was an absolute treat to the ears. One of the songs they played was even based on a Hindustani classical raga, as Max indicated.

Although their music very clearly had a voice of its own, the fact that theirs was an entirely instrumental set meant that the songs seemed to blend in to each other at times. A little more engagement of the crowd by Max between songs might have covered that angle a little bit better. Nonetheless, the set ended with a heavier song that included some fantastic blues guitar riffs and was for me, the best of the night. The last ten minutes consisted of the trio going into another jam, and capping it off with a suitably big finish.

The second half of Two Night featured another band that I’d never seen before. I’d ventured outside the venue for some quick socializing during the changeover, and the guys from Bones For Bertie were already on their way when I re-entered. I hung back for a bit to get a sense of what they were playing, and I liked it.

They looked to me like a tight four-piece outfit; comfortable, in sync with each other and driven by some of the best vocals that I’d heard at Blue Frog in a while, courtesy Siddharth Basrur . On lead guitar and keys was Ayan De, with new additions Shantanu Basrur (yes, the two Basrurs are cousins) and Suraj Manik on drums and bass respectively.

The mellow ‘As it Was’, was introduced by Siddharth as being the first he’d ever written, following it up with another called ‘The Road’. But the point where I really sat up and began to pay attention was on the next song, a heavier number with dark lyrical content, called ‘Letters to a Father’, penned by Ayan. Interestingly enough, the demo of the same song that’s available to stream off the band’s bandcamp page, is vastly different and stripped down, and is definitely worth a listen.

There was a certain maturity and inherent appeal in their sound and it was evident that the crowd was getting increasingly involved. Ayan’s first-ever written song ‘Picture Frames’ was next. The composition was sublime with guest vocalist Namaah Kumar completing the acoustic arrangement, and her smooth high-pitched vocals complementing Siddharth’s more rasping style extremely well.

After an interesting composition called ‘Again’, the band was joined on stage by a vocalist called Eden. I was a little surprised when Siddharth mentioned that they’d be taking on Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’, but my aspersions were dispersed as soon as she began singing. The combination of smooth and throaty vocals once again sounded brilliant along with the piano accompaniment by Ayan, and as they merged in to Bruno Mars’ ‘Grenade’, the vociferous crowd made it very clear that they were floored!

Eden stayed on to sing a pleasant and simple self-written track, called ‘Eden’s Song’. Following this was ‘This Saturday’; a dark yet uplifting tune written for Ayan and Siddharth’s The Venus Project, with the duo playing keys and guitar respectively. Shantanu and Suraj got back on stage for the last two songs; a louder and heavier rock song called ‘Untitled’ (for the lack of a better name) and the upbeat ‘New Shoes’, (for everyone with a shoe fetish) to conclude a truly brilliant set.

All in all, Bones For Bertie scored tremendously well on a number of counts. Their performance was intense. The creativity in their arrangements was refreshing. And above all, their compositions underlined the fact that there really is no substitute for solid vocals, and great songwriting. A highly recommended listen!

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