• Fri, Dec 9, 2022
Reviews

Abhinav Saxena's 'Other Side of Light' Is A Psych-Jazz Wonder That Lives To Tell Its Own Tale

7.5

album Reviews Oct 31, 11:24am

Mumbai-based artist Abhinav Saxena has never been one to limit himself to the drudgery of musical genres, exploring a dynamic range of sounds to create music that is completely his own. His ability to play around with different styles and techniques comes hand-in-hand with his expertise on the guitar and other instruments (and production, too). His debut album Look up and Smile may have been a relatively amateurishly produced first try, but it sure did open up many doors for him to explore his potential both as an instrumentalist and as a producer. With his latest EP, Other Side of Light, he has outdone himself. When it comes to skilfully executing intricate ideas and realising his full potential as an all-round creative force, this release checks all the boxes with style.

This foray into neo-psychedelic-jazz prefers elegance and grace over flamboyance and bombast; there are lush textures and colourful melodies strewn all over these soundscapes. ‘Starry Lullaby’ has a delightful bass groove that kicks in unabashedly after a prolonged, coruscant medley of fuzzy guitars and glitchy ambience. It’s something to bob your head along to. ‘Sea Creatures’ doesn’t shy away from dipping into its darker colours that blend together to create a rather forlorn sonic painting. The playfulness of ‘Smoove Grooth’ comes with a sultry, alluring twist – effortless in its approach and bold in its demeanour wanting only to impress.  The EP’s closer ‘Bombay’ takes you down memory lane to a time when jazz clubs used to be an urban gathering hub on weekends with its wonky saxophone verses and walking bass lines. Thus the aptly placed moniker; but the song’s old-school foundation serves as a base for a dark, distorted spin on the sound that will keep you tripping the light fantastic.

Abhinav’s experimental take on a nostalgic sound is well worth listening to for several reasons. Primarily, the EP manages to unfurl all of itself in 23 concise minutes across 4 songs. It doesn’t say any more (or any less) than it has to. This sense of finality and closure is fulfilling to the listener in a sense – not wanting more but in a good way because it’s a comprehensive, complete release in itself. Abhinav has also upped his production game since his last record, and it shows. His sound is mature while also retaining a hint of youthful adventurousness where he is not afraid to go beyond binaries and incorporate dissonance in his music. Other Side of Light sheds light on Saxena’s musical integrity and reintroduces him as a musician who is not afraid to step out of the box and just be himself.

 

Listen to the EP here.

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