Review: Anhad and Tanner’s debut album, In Other Words, is a beautiful mix of fusion music
Divided by continents and a few thousand miles, but united by music — duo Anhad + Tanner releases their debut album, In Other Words, today. While Tanner Willeford was born and raised in Durham in the southeastern United States, Anhad Khanna is from Delhi. Though they come from different countries and diverse musical backgrounds, this album was where they found the ideal meeting point. It was in March 2018 that they thought an album would be a natural progression after making music together for a while. Although, it wasn’t till a few rounds of touring all over the world that they felt comfortable enough with the idea of coming up with the record.
Speaking about the meeting that charted off a beautiful friendship and a consequent collaboration, Anhad says, “We met back in 2016, while working for a non-profit organisation”. That’s where both of them hit it off. They worked both in Delhi and Durham. Then they met Gaurav Raina of Midival Punditz to work on the mix of the record. Tanner says, “It does appear to be quite the challenge, but to tell the truth, in many ways the distance has been a benefit to our music and work. Even before COVID times, we were able to work a full 24 hours because of time zones — Anhad taking one half and I taking the other.” Anhad elaborates that while his sound is influenced by Asian Underground and Indian Electronica, Tanner’s background can be associated with that of contemporary jazz and Western classical. When we first heard, In Other Words, we realised how beautifully the two of them have managed to create a few mesmerising tracks by fusing both their musical influences.
The duo is quick to highlight that the actual process of uncovering their musical middle ground was quite gradual. They both had something musical to say which was different but complementary. And they attempted to retain the careful balance. They, of course, acknowledge that they have learnt quite a bit from the likes of Midival Punditz, Talvin Singh, Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale, and all those who pushed the genre of Indian electronica forward. In their seven-track debut, they have pulled off an artistic coup — by roping in various talented musicians like Isheeta Chakrvarty, Kamakshi Khanna, Vibhor Mathur, Akansha Grover and many others. Anhad says, “I think finding the right people who can add to your vision is something hard to find but somehow we instantly knew that these were the people we wanted to work with.” Luckily for Anhad+ Tanner, they stumbled upon most of the musicians online, even many times on social media. At the moment, they are waiting patiently for the pandemic situation to get better so they can get back to touring as they want to take their music from the studio to the stage. An official music video is in the works and it is being done in a very special way. “With testing times and COVID taking over, we had to pause the production but we’re slowly getting back into the groove of getting things rolling,” says Tanner.
In Other Words is out now via Gravity Sounds. The music is available on all streaming platforms.