Members of the alien mothership that is Peter Cat Recording Co. (PCRC) have shot out more than just a couple of exceptionally curious acts that continue to bemuse and bowl over.
The latest offshoot to procreate being Begum which is essentially Kartik Pillai (guitar/ vocals) and Karan Singh (percussion/ keys) from PCRC, alongside Kshitij Dhyani on Bass. They amusingly define their genre as Indian eleventh century seduction sounds, and also claim to be undertaking secret promotion of Fevicol through the name of the band.
Their debut album, Bagh, was let loose just last month, and brandishes music as eccentric and versatile as it can safely get. The album was recorded live within the premises of the band members; no multi-tracking whatsoever.
The set conforms to no particular form or pattern, and delights the listener with a soundscape that is immersive and eclectic. Predictability is low and each song is varied from the next. Lackadaisical vocals, indigenous rock and roll, and kaleidoscopic use of sound arranged in a comely order, form the immaculate construction of this set which flows smoothly from beginning to end.
The first is one of the band’s pre released singles ‘Chinbien’ which lends an appropriately engaging beginning to the album. The song has a fantastical and ambient start that gradually transitions with a fitting Japanese sounding drum and sticks intro into vintage rock and roll.
Arranged in a cyclic fashion, we have ‘Make it till 4’, ‘In the basement’, and ‘Waiting’, all of which have a fervor that correspond with the garage/punk rock era of the 1960s.
Nestled in between them is ‘Lonely roads’ which is arguably one of the most addictive of the lot and a personal favourite. The song features a combination of simple acoustic riffs and an ensnaring voice that reverberates in your head much after you leave, and go about other diurnal chores in life.
The ambiguous fifth track on the album is an instrumental called ‘Imposter’; starting with an old vocal sample, the song piques the interest at first but then goes on for about seven minutes with some minor variations, mildly bordering upon monotony. The song has the tendency to get lost into oblivion as you realize you can go make that sandwich your rumbling stomach has been craving, before it is finished. Therefore, serving its ingenious purpose as an intermission as suggested alongside the title.
The next track is mellow and short in contrast; ‘As He Was’ is languid and dreamy throughout but changes character midway, which is typical of the artists.
‘Raj D Minor’ or ‘Redeem Yourself’, incorporates reggae intonations and harbours a relaxing, chilled- out vibe. While the delightful ‘Marry me’ has a thoroughly optimistic and warm-fuzzy feel to it.
Finishing off with the harmonious and composed ‘Arugumbay’, Begum delivers a rather stimulating album that would bring similar ecstasy to an adventurous listener as sky diving would to an adrenaline junkie.
Stream Bagh by Begum below:
We ploughed the depths of the internet to find/envision/discover these uncanny resemblances in the Indian independent music circuit and beyond. Some of these people may or may not have been separated at birth.
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