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Insane Prophecy: 'The Nihilistic Force of Fear and Ire'

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Insane Prophecy manifest an extremely potent and uncanny amalgam of realism and impressionism with their latest single 'The Nihilistic Force of Fear and Ire'. The track opens with a mid-paced rain of guitar riffs sort of like tides rushing up a freezing seashore, almost as if it were to push you into a vortex, ushering you into the band's very own realm where an almost crushing vertigo bewitches you- your imagination being the only pathway back to your consciousness.

If this is at all, a glimpse into the band's future, it would be more than apt to say that they have, without the shadow of a doubt, obsessed and improved upon what's come before. The production is a little unpolished and that, for someone like me, can seem a little jarring- however, the heartfelt and cautiously arranged songwriting more than makes up for it. Understandably, for many, it might not even seem at par with their debut album but it definitely has a more intense and abysmal personality of its own suggesting that Insane Prophecy are more tucked in than they were ever before.

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Amogh Symphony : In Conversation

Monday, November 17, 2014

1. Why is the new album called 'Vectorscan'? What are its underlying themes?

Vishal: Vector, according to physics, a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another. According to biology, an organism, typically a biting insect or tick, that transmits a disease or parasite from one animal or plant to another. Vectorscan, conceptually, is a risky search vision in nano and pico level of matter of composition. Manipulation of matter on an atomic or molecular scale. Thematically, it’s a state of vision in cosmology/tantric practice or a deep layer of meditation where one can see things moving and existing in a form that cannot be seen by human eyes in normal state. A lot of Buddhist monks can see this vision. Vectorscan is a story(continuation from previous albums ATOS and TQHC) about cosmic rivalry between forces of Satyuga and forces of darkness which roam around from one human mind to another human. You can have a read of concept storyboard on our website

2. From your perspective, Is Vectorscan an evolution of Amogh Symphony's sound or would it to be more apt to call it another dimension of your music? Either way, will there ever be a follow-up of the same or perhaps a similar sounding record in the future?

Vishal : At the moment? Yes, I think so. But I cannot confirm that this direction is permanent. Amogh Symphony is completely personal and it’s a state of mind that changes with time. I produce tracks of various genres and style with/for other artists,films and ads everyday. That’s how I earn my bread and butter. I cannot stick to just one style of music. I wouldn’t call this evolution because I really don't have to. I like that decision to fans,so whatever makes them happy. I would rather call it 'change'. I mean, we can do whatever we want in Amogh Symphony because there are no obligations and I believe a lot of fans know that. The next album, well, we will see.

3. How dedicated is your fan-base, in your opinion? How important are your fans to you?

Vishal : Our fans exist in a very strange diversity. Like, there are fans who buy our music yet they do not mention that on social networking sites, in fact, a lot of them are not even regularly active on social networking sites. This indicates the kind of fans we are connecting to via our music. Some fans show dedication by sending emails, tagging on social networking sites and by writing interesting comments and a lot of them don’t even buy music. Then there are fans with serious ego issues who start insulting other bands and artists with statements like ‘X is an old band and they suck. AS rules. X sounds like shit. They should better stop playing.’ These are mindless fans who honestly don't deserve a mention. They do not understand that a lot of bands are good friends with each other and this kind of behavior leads to misunderstandings. I mean, isn’t it funny that they are more proud of our music than us? It’s like having a troubled girlfriend. It starts with mad love and then it turns to hate.

4. Do you guys fancy the idea of going live someday?

Vishal : I really want to. But this may sound a bit arrogant. It’s a full fledged orchestral band now. I do not want to use them as samples from laptop with a 3-4 piece band because then 70% part of the band will be sampled. This cannot be a guitar heroism setup where I keep on playing with Jim and Andrey and the rest coming out as samples from the DAW. If organizers can afford to get us larger square feet stage and all the necessary equipment and technical support, pay the orchestral line up, we are totally on. It’s basically not feasible for organizers especially in metal and jazz shows also considering the fact that our music is not very friendly with a lot of people, there are risks of financial disaster for the organizers. I have been asked to find musicians in local circuit to perform Amogh Symphony live but I alwaays stand against that choice and I still do. If I really had to do that, I could perform as AS long before. Today, Andrey, Jim, me and the rest are a band together because that’s exactly how its supposed to be. I cannot spoon-feed and train musicians especially in India. I do not want to say this but there are no musicians to replace these guys. Some organizers believe I am arrogant but that’s not the case here. These things were cleared since day 1 hence none of us are depending on live shows. If that has to happen, it will happen. If not, no big deal and doesn’t matter to the band, honestly.

5. As a band, what was the biggest challenge in making 'Vectorscan' a possibility?

Vishal : Getting the songs placed and arranged in a soundtrack/background music score style. This album could not be done without Andrey and Jim and everyone who’ve been associated with this album. It’s a balance between music composition and experimental visuals that we see in post modern films. I have been following and studying films by film makers like Kamal Swaroop and musicians/engineers like Juku Da since longtime and understood the connection between randomness songwriting and charted out/planned music composition. There are rules that doesn’t seem like rules at first. Let me give you a short example – Reality shows. They look random but it’s all planned up. There is absolutely nothing satisfying than being able to achieve what you’ve always imagined. I would not say it’s a perfect album but it’s definitely something for listeners who want to feel a little different than usual feels, you know. A lot of fans who loved previous albums will dislike this album, especially the ones who are emotionally attached to just one feeling. Like I said, fans and fan-support are exactly like girlfriends and relationships.

6. Tell us a little about what fans can expect from Amogh Symphony in the near future.

Vishal : We will see.

7. Moving to Kasturi Ma'am. Tell us how music happened to you.

Kasturi Singh : Firstly, thank you so much for this interview, Kaushik. I hope you are doing good.It started at the age of 7 with dance. I used to learn dance and singing from my belated mother/Vishal’s Grandma Labanya Prabha Nath. My brothers are known instrumentalists and songwriters from whom I learned more about singing and performing. My Mother was the first lady singer from Assam who was recorded by HMV and Megaphone(Kolkata) before Indian Independence. She’s been an inspiration to me. My first solo performance happened when I was 11 years old. I have been singing, dancing and performing since then until I stopped music and dance after I conceived Vishal. I had to sacrifice music for sometime because I was very serious with my motherhood for my two sons who were little. Because I remember how tough it was for our Mother to spend time with us due to her rehearsals and shows. I promised myself that when I will become a mother, I will wait for the right time. My belated husband always encouraged me to continue music but I insisted to wait. Slowly with time, I started writing articles based on music, society issues and also stories and poems on local newspapers such as Aamar Oxom, Agnibaan, Progoti and magazines such as Swaroopa, Pubali, Hokhi etc. I collaborated with Santana Baruah and young Mayukh Hazarika(Son of late Jayanta Hazarika) in a compilation produced by Alin Mech called Aideor bulonitey. My first book “Progotikhil Jibon, Mon aru Byoktitto” was published on year 2000. The book is based on thoughts of modern human society parallel to mythology and philosophy. Apart from all these, I have been practicing meditation, spirituality and mind healing others since years.

8. What inspired you to return to music? How did the collaboration with your son Vishal J.Singh happen?

Kasturi Singh : I was not away from music. I stopped music and writing since Vishal’s father died. Vishal inspired me to refresh. I don’t really like his other 2 albums because I found them very noisy except few moments in those songs. He knows that haha. I am not into heavy metal and electronic music but I like some jazz because I heard my Mother singing and performing Jazz music during 70’s. Vishal puts his heart and soul in everything he does and he is very experimental. He studies music a lot and he often spends time with his uncles(my brothers) talking about music and often argue on laws and theories in music. He asked me to collaborate before but I did not find my spot in his songs. He said “Ma, that’s me and my friends Jim, Andrey, Youri and others..” and played his new songs to me. I liked them and I loved to be a part of it. He wanted me to sing in the same memory of my Mother and her poetry. He also requested me to give my creative inputs in songs which he produce for other artists and short films. It’s good to see him evolving because I think it’s important. His bandmates are very talented guys. I wish him and his friends good luck with this record.
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BNW : In Conversation

Friday, November 14, 2014

Though still in their infancy, BNW are making plenty of noise in the Northeast-Indian circuit. Their new single 'Just like a nightmare' out earlier this month finds the band, much unlike the obvious name linkage, in a whimsicle and mesmerizing streak. We caught up with co-founder Bhargav Talukdar to find out what the band are all about.

1. Tell us a little about yourselves. Who is BnW and what's your story?

We are duo that focusses on making pop/rock tunes. It's an idea that just hit us one day out of the blue and we started talking about how we should try to do something that we had never considered before. We had been playing and performing in a band way before we started BnW but about half a year ago we had stopped gigging because we had little time to spare owing to our personal afflictions- the two of us in specific were busy with college. We didn't have a clue we'd take this venture seriously in the long run but in the last couple of months we've already recorded five songs and so it's pretty safe to say the prospects look pretty startling.

2. Writam and you are part of a Progressive act, how and why did playing in a pop/rock duo occur to you?

Despite our love for prog, we always listened to a lot of pop together. It's something me and Writam have shared a common interest for. So one thing led to the other and what was initially a one song venture turned into BnW.

3. Musically, what are the bands that BnW is inspired from? How many of these bands have influenced you from an ideological perspective and how important is 'an ideology' to BnW's music?

Oh that would be a really long list! Robbie Williams, Donna Summer, Pet Shop Boys, Train, ABBA, Bee Gees I could go on and on. Honestly though, before we started I had never taken the time to appreciate, these artistes the way I do now. And ofcourse understanding the ideological bit has always been one the most significant facets of appreciating their music . Needless to say it has very prominently influenced the scope and extent of our music and while our ideologies are a very integral part of the BnW experience, we still feel it's in an obscure stage and it'll take us sometime to be able to talk about it with conviction.

4. What are the lyrical themes of your songs mostly centred around and how important are those themes in your songwriting process?

Lyrics certainly play the central role in our music but unless you can achieve a perfect 'jugalbandi' between melody and words, you can never reach out to your target audience. We usually write about our experiences and things that interest us, in general. Naturally, my words and phrasings are usually very simple and minimal so that I can make sense to people coming from different spheres of life and so that the message of song doesn't take a backseat.

5. What is the image you are looking for, as an act?

That would extremely hard to pin down because we are what we are and the only possible difference you might see in us as BnW are the messages we depict with song. So, the image is trapped inside the character or role we play in each song. But yeah most of it will be on a positive streak and sometimes that most people will be able to vibe with.

6. Is there a possibility or plan to include additional members in the near future? Is it imperative that this endeavour remains a two-member act? If so, why? Additionally, why do you think there is a sudden boom of solo acts and duos in the present era as opposed to bands? Do you think it's easier to work with such a template?

We've not really given the idea adding more members a thought yet but ofcourse we look forward to collaborating with artistes who are interested. And it's obvious that if we find an apt match we would love for them join the band in the long run but to be honest, right now, we are more than happy to be working as a duo because we are comfortable working this way and we just want to dodge the 'two makes a company three makes a crowd' problem. I'm sure people who play in bigger groups will be able to connect to what I'm trying to say.

I would attribute the sudden rise of solo acts and duos in present times to two integral facts: One, the fact that it's easier to work in a smaller more compact template and two, the accesibility and availability of production tools and methods in the present times. Moreover, with no offence to any one in particular I think it is also an almost omni-present practice in our circuit for a group of musicians to play as a 'band' for a couple of years and then split owing to personal and professional differences. I think it is because bands do not acknowledge the true worth of sticking together and evolving as a unit that most of the best bands I have heard in recent times from our circuit don't end up making it big. Imagine a world where your favorite bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica or Led Zeppelin would have turned to such practices. That would have been quite a ruckus.

7. How has your city of origin influenced your sound?

Guwahati is in the very soul of our music. It's the hustle and bustle, the music, the weather, the people. We couldn't be more thankful to all the people from our city for lending us their stories, their love and most importantly their support. We are constantly trying to include a susbtantial amount of folk elements and instruments in our music too which reflect our gratitude towards all of this. Let's hope it subtantiates in the near future.

8. What are your immediate plans as BnW?

As of now we want to work towards an album and then promote the album to reach out to larger audiences.

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Adam and the fish eyed poets- Snakeism

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rock Street Journal- 2010

Falling in love with a band that’s new is a LOT like falling in love with a girl who you don’t know much about. Loads of excitement, that crazy anxiety, those silly trice- frights.

Is this a flash in the pan or a lasting relationship?

Will I regret this later on?

Is it too early to ask her out for a movie?

There’s a thrill that’s totally exclusive to young bands-- a promise and gusto that’s not only ‘hard’- but in stronger words- ‘difficult’ to arrest.

It is this promise that Chennai based Adam and The Fish Eyed Poets exemplify, with a debut album that has acquired more eulogize and drone in the last few weeks than it did during the first few months of their existence as a project.

Snakeism, the debut album from multi-personality frontman Kishore Krishna ( more appropriately referred to as ‘Adam’ here), manages to find a mushy, ripe area right in between- adding just the right amount of sentiment and skill to his art-form further packing the album with arrestingly simple melodies that ultimately flesh out into sneakily complex songs. Tracks like “crutch” and “ode to the thorn” sound like revisions of familiar melodies that I personally can’t quite put a finger on – because I can’t remember the name, but I’m fairly certain I heard my dad sing them on his easy chair a few years back.

Krishna is a philosopher- an artist almost in a bubble travelling through the universe without bursting out of his fears and his anxieties. It’s not that easy you know- being a 20 year old and acting double that age. He’s got a sensibility that most musicians lack in today’s scene- one that is backed by both Eccentricity and Predictability thrown in for good measure.

Fundamentally, the project's process of building from small chunks enables them to put endless diversities on each basic section of their songs—launching with a pulsing bass line and a plaintive piano separately, for illustration, and then packing them together in several recipes later in the song. Even the vocals are, by and large, just another component heavily played with- leading all the way and over-powering with choruses just as you begin to grow accustomed to the overall balance.

The record's general majesty has a whole lot to do with Krishna's voice, which hits every pitch with equal clarity and objective of tone- the man knows execution. Good thing, too, since Snakeism is an especially vocal-heavy record; excluding the tenth track "Deepthroat", there are few moments here where Krishna's voice isn't featured as much. He backs himself like a ghost, fills in non-verbal gaps and repeats sentiments like mantras ("She’s popping my bubble", “She’s denying me attention”, “The attention I so desperately need to escape my own resentment”).

I immensely enjoyed the classical flow and lyrics of “Sheepdog” the bass-driven, Ak-47 blaring appeal of “Can’t stand the light,” (:P) and I’m outright obsessed with the carnal, pumping energy of “Ouroboros blues.” I even kind of love “Johnny’s last stand” the singer’s moderately successful attempt at producing his own dépêche-mode-esque anthem.

Sure, it’s no Personal Jesus–but it’s still got its benefits here and there.

Suffice to say, AATFEP are a massively innovative project, and with snakeism, they've managed to make an album that's enormously available yet ‘lock, stock and barrel’ unconventional. The thing that drew me to the album in the first place was the magnificent artwork, which features a flipbook of twenty four pages of pictures and lyrics and very little other information- one more nuance that exemplifies the depth of detail apparent on this record.

“Charming" is the key word that comes to define Snakeism; while most of the guitar-based indie pop that's made waves over the past few years has been characterized by scenester animosity and attempts to fit in- this record is carefree and instantly likable-- even if it doesn't seem to care what you think of it.
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Gorkha Metal

Rock Street Journal- 2012

The Darjeeling metal circuit has, for a welcome change, delivered its first prominent offshoot to the genre in the form of a boisterous cult christened ‘Gorkha Metal’. And going by recent developments, the trend seems set for its moment in the spotlight.

Much like a lot of other whims in metal, this cult roots from the idea of finding a unique identity and slotting thematic and musical ideas along with the heritage of the natives- the Nepalis; the Gorkha tribe, in particular. However, tracing the origins of it has proved to be a hard nut to crack.

For a very long time, this was a term or for the lack of a better word, an idea that confined itself to the suburbs of Sikkim and West Bengal in specific, which is why many people initially recognized this as a ‘flash-in –the pan’ attempt at typecasting Nepali metal bands from the region who were trying to create awareness regarding the political scenario of the expanse and the age long feud between the native Bengalis and the Nepalis. Also, since the term has been open to interpretation, many a time this has also been misjudged as a clichéd attempt at amalgamation of Nepali folk tunes with metal bereft of any intrinsic value. I use the word ‘misjudged’ because the scope of this concept is way beyond the musicality or for that matter the idea of political revolution alone. It is in fact a fusion of the two elements.

Gorkha Metal’s arrival into other avenues of the country pledges allegiance to one of Darjeeling’s most established metal acts, Grungy Morphins who are more often than not also credited for coining the term in an attempt to create a unique artistic image for their live acts. “We’ve been around for a very long time y’know. So, when we started garnering sizeable attention in the country and beyond, we realized it was time for us to work on an image that would do justice to the music that we made and the realities of our daily lives. Gorkhas are mocked at and ridiculed with by a lot of people- and that has created a reluctance and tension, of sorts for a large section of the Gorkha population- a reluctance to try and blend in and feel at ease, for who we are. I wanted to change that through our music- wanted to give other people an insight into our rich heritage as a tribe and to encourage my people to feel proud of who they are.” mentions frontman Hozo.

Driven by massive online buzz and debates ‘Gorkha Metal’ and its underlying concept undoubtedly compliments philosophies put forward by numerous activists, social workers, artists and prominent figures from around the scenario but at the same time acts as an outlet for artistic expression of other varied forms. Needless to say, the lyrics are centred ona wide array of themes and aren’t always restricted to personal or general viewpoints regarding socio-political issues. “I meet a lot of new bands and fans from the scene who talk to me about their (mis)interpretations regarding Gorkha Metal. There have been a lot of instances where the person concerned doesn’t even know the fact that we coined the term.Frankly,When we came up with this idea we didn’t know so many people would connect to it so promptly and start interpreting this ‘imagery’ in their own way. For me, this is not centred around politics or a mish-mash of Nepali tunes with Metal. We created this to showcase the legacy of our tribe to the world and make it heard through a wide-ranging set of themes. Kind of like the stuff Sepultura tried to do with their ‘Roots’ album. I grew up reading about how our ancestors had successfully made a name for their bravery around the world. Adolf Hitler once said that if he had the Gorkhas by his side, he could have ruled the entire world and that he was scared of nothing in the world, besides the Gorkha warriors. These stories really inspired me to manifest my pride in being a Gorkha- I think anything beyond that is just fabrication past the original idea and scope. “Hozo comments Trivinesh Subba, Frontman of Pabitra Gorkha Metal act Sycorax who, much like a lot of the other musicians from the circuit,has made his own conclusions, at points somehow contradicting to Hozo’s theories adds “Grungy Morphins paved the way for this cult altogether but Sycorax is the first band that actually brought the musicality bit into the stencil. Most of our unreleased material is heavily influenced by Nepali folk music which is why we call ourselves a ‘PabitraGorkha Metal’ act. There’s this particular song that we really enjoy playing live “Weapons of choice”- it’s derived from a Nepali song called ‘chutki’. Also, I rememberwe were also one of the first bands, to incorporate the ‘Khukuri’, a distinctive Gorkha Weapon into our band logo along with a pentagram thereby trying to display a fusion between our ideas about the Gorkha Spirit and our personal viewpoints about religion. These are the fundamentals that made this cult what it is today. Many other acts came up with their own explanations- which is how it turned it turned into a cult in the first place, according to me. Today, there are a huge number of bands who are involved in this altogether. And the feeling being connected to something as big as this is unexplainable. I hope this gets bigger and better with time.”

Indeed, The past two years have been colossally significant for Gorkha Metal bands having gathered a sizeable reputation for their live acts, around the countryespecially because of bands like Sycorax who have constantly fared well in competitions across the national circuit. The radical development in audience, needless to say, brings about a tense and more competitive milieu for the genre’s existent base and guard. With a larger audience, comes change and that gives rise to the need for better acts and a more varied approach to the music altogether.

However, out of the many hurdles faced by these bands, the inability to create innovative strategies to make the form more accessible stands out. Since the format of the songs have a lot to do with the stories and the issues of only the Nepalis, the entire stencil is bound to seem monotonous and tedious for a music enthusiast who is not aware of or fond of the same thematic references and the Nepali folk and metal blend.

Perhaps in the future, we’ll come across more ambitious GM acts with better and more creative ideas that will further help retain the genre’s hold over its existent fan-base and to reach out to larger audiences.On that form, the coming months might just be for the Darjeeling Scene for the taking.
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