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Gumbal New Album Is A Playlist Curated For First Man On The Moon

Jun 24, 02:06pm

Gumbal frontman Arjun Iyer discusses the story behind upcoming album as the 'new thing' to experiment with.
In 2014, with the release of debut EP 'A For', Gumbal did the customary thing that every new act informally has to: announce its sound. What began with an electro-acoustic image of this Mumbai-based act has gradually turned into an experiment with other ideas that would not only compliment the founders' ideology but eventually redefine its approach. The EP released in 2014, a year when Mumbai - similar to every other metropolitan city in the country - was massively drifting towards electronic music and queuing outside EDM-promoting venues.
 
The idea to move away from the sound after release of 'A For' further strenghtened Gumbal's mantra: to try new things. And that came at a cost of how the music "scene" evolved across the cities. The following EP featured horn sections, more distortion than electro elements, thus paving the way for a 'heavy, alternative' tag. But then that is what makes bands like Gumbal a tad bit more special. 

A fortnight ago, the four-piece outfit released its latest single 'A Finite Number Of Heartbeats' off its upcoming album 'Armstrong's List'. Similar to the preceding studio effort 'Small Step', this has a refreshingly independent sound too - one that simply remains unaffected with the obvious alienated soundscape (fuck, even Arctic Monkeys gave in to the demands). However, more than the sound, it's the concept of Armstrong's List that showcases the evolution of the band from its previous efforts. "It is our interpretation of what Neil Armstrong would be listening on his mission to moon," educates Arjun Iyer, the vocalist and lyricist.
 
Listen: 
 
 
The nine-track album, from the first note to the last, is a sonic and lyrical imagination of the astronaut Armstrong's playlist on quite possibly the biggest event for humankind. Not an ode to the mission or a tribute to the event, the album is simply a bunch of compositions that reflect the astronaut's emotions and fears and bravery and solitude during the entire journey. Elaborating on the recently released single  A Finite Number Of Heartbeats, Iyer says, "There is a theory that every human has a limited number of heartbeats. And it's on a countdown. On an average, a human heart beats for 1.5 billion times before it expires. The song is Armstrong's reminder to himself that he must cherish these limited heartbeats as he ascends to another world and descends back home." 
 
Frontman Arjun Iyer obsesses with story-telling and does not treat the approach as 'an option' but the only way to do justice to his compositions. "A story gives a better graphy to play with," adds Iyer, who believes the approach rids more obstacles than it creates. Armstrong's List took three years to find an eventual shape and conclusion, and Iyer asserts it's Gumbal's most conscious effort so far. "I am a bit of a perfectionist, and sometimes it sucks. The amount of thought I put into certain actions often trigger impatience among band-mates too, and I am working on that factor. The same applies to my solo project Barty's Path," admits Iyer when asked upon the eventual release of the album.
 
Certain songs continue to be under Iyer's scrutiny and receive 'tweaking' treatment, but Gumbal - now with a new manager - plan to systematically create the buzz around Armstrong's List; another 'new thing to try'. "If you see a tap leaking, you fix it yourself," emphasises Iyer on how the band plans to change its fortune. For the band, right now, the only agenda is to stay around as long as they can. That, as Iyer explains, is the only way more and more people would remember them. 
 
Armstrong's List is expected to release towards the end of August this year. 
 
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