Shadow And Light has a kind of hopeless air of tragedy and pain bleeding through the record, which some of the song titles indicatively tell a tale of - 'Dream Gone Wrong' for one. The cello like bass on the album has a ‘Bonobo jamming in an evening riyaz’ feel; a melancholia of notes, you could say. Vocalist Pavithra Chari, and keyboardist/producer/recording artist Anindo Bose’s most recent collaborative project, Shadow And Light’s debut album is precisely the kind of divergence contemporary fusion music in the Indian music circuit is more than glad to have routed toward. At a time when fusion artists in the local scene are having a tough time making any headway with the recent epidemic of writer’s block, Shadow And Light is a precious find. The ten track record opens with the title song, featuring a spacey, walking blues piano riff – signature of Bose’s musicality, if you’ve heard enough Advaita – with Chari’s vocals taking center stage, flaunting a mystifying and shapeless tone. Bose’s work on the musical arrangement is mature and intelligent; leaving out spaces for the music to breathe, where the bass vents each note with the subtle, but confident, damping tone of a finger picked double bass. ‘Dream Gone Wrong’ is an easy favorite to pick from that lot, with its confidence in making the mark with subtlety and dignity, and powerful bass lines sulking subliminally.
Recorded at Plug N’ Play studios, the duo's debut is a work of excellent production, getting the tones and volumes with their ensemble, just right. There are instances of certain uncomfortable tone shifts in the vocals; mostly during the switch between languages. It would be fair at this moment to articulate this writer’s disdain with mixing languages in the same song; the shift between the emotive quality, difference in syllables, and all round difference in expression, puts this writer in an uneasy spot – a difficult one to recuperate from. However, Shadow And Light seems to have done its best to ease that transition with Chari's voice flowing through the album with amazing precision and expression. Save for maybe a few steps in harmonies, like those through ‘Blue’ and ‘Shadow and Light’, where this writer’s shrewd, and nearly obstinate ear for note selection casts them as inconsistent in context; Chari’s control over her voice swimming through darker territories, is nearly perfect. More than the scholastic merit of the vocals and musical arrangements, it is Shadow And Light's ability to sincerely synchronize themselves with the tonal mood of the album without going over board or falling short, that give this record an amount of intangible value; that which makes the difference between a working class musician, and an artist.
Stream Shadow And Light's music below:
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