• Tue, Mar 28, 2023

VASU Finds A Great Balance Of Sound On New EP


album Reviews Sep 15, 04:27pm

‘Parwaaz’ treats its constituents with respect, with considerable results

Kolkata composer and singer-songwriter Vasundhara Gupta (VASU if you’re looking her music up) takes the approach of the modern minimalist on her EP ‘Parwaaz’ which came out in July. It is predominantly electronic and ambient with some some subtle flourishes of something approaching Indian classical, but what really pulls you in is her arrangements and writing capabilities. We’ve seen this go awry a bajillion times; maximising both sides of the spectrum here yields an unlistenable mess and loading things too much in one direction results in a parody of whatever ‘classical’ sound is being sued. On ‘Parwaaz’, VASU gets it just about right.

There are four tracks (and a rework) on this release and they all live in relatively ‘normal’ listening ranges; between two and five minutes. We all know how flamboyant and colourful Hindustani music can sound when placed against almost anything else, so Vasundhara’s idea here is to rein it in, allowing it to peek through only at certain times. These elements almost sound sampled (they aren’t) in the way they are used, and this is a nice way to do it. There’s a bit of vocal on ‘Jaagu Main Saari Raina’ behind a nocturnal and murky electronic palate, subby kicks and all. She put a harmonizer on her voice in standout ‘Rogue Waves’, something that sounds like James Blake’s ‘Lindisfarne’ exposed to vivid colours and sunlight. The short ‘Interlude’ is texturally wonderful with its synths and swirling vocal layering, leaving the listener wanting far more, which is sometimes what a tiny little track like this is meant to do. The title track has some great violin and has much more of a soundtrack vibe; the intro alone can open almost any movie in your mind. When her vocals come in, they are surrounded by harps, some sequenced sounds (modulated guitars too) and so on. It’s all very serene and calm, a far cry from the comparative moodiness of the EP’s opener. That’s range. The EP ends with a dnb, jungle-y, more upbeat rework of ‘Rogue Waves’, but the meat of the music here is great writing, really nice production and most importantly, respect for sound. That’s not something you find every day. You will on ‘Parwaaz’.


Listen here.

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