Consolidate's new album brings together diverse genres and artistes, but is much more than a sum of its parts
The BENGALURU-BASED label Consolidate wanted to bring out its latest compilation album last year. However roadblocks such as the CAA protests, and then of course the pandemic, made the label feel that the time was not right for its release. But now, with so much behind us, the album’s release and the songs it features take on a new meaning. Titled Frnds & Fmly ’20, it is a 12-track album by artistes working under the label.
The album features musicians such as Disco Puppet, _RHL and Pardafash, who have been in the label’s roster for a while, and also some new recruits. Irina Giri aka Flekke, wows with her moody song, Averse. “Averse was a reaction to a feeling of being trapped in a really bad version of myself,” she says. Ambient and mellow, Lesta is a track by Akrti, while Chir Pine impresses with the techno- and house-based Lost. We also loved Aniruddh Menon’s abstract and kitschy Pearly. Other names on the bill include Zubin Aroz and Blindnight.
Phatcowlee is the name of Kathmandu-based musician Rajan Shrestha’s solo electronic project. The artiste is also the bassist of post-rock act Jindabaad as well as one half of Anaasir, a project with Pakistani musician Alien Panda Jury. But, as Phatcowlee, he makes ambient, lo-fi and surreal sample-based music and his track on the album, System Error, is exactly that. “I am involved with an art project about space programmes. I stumbled upon the audio samples used in the song while browsing through the NASA site. I was visualising the spaceship exploding after a ‘system error’ and the only human from the ship floating in space right after his ejection. Kind of dark but the music feels hopeful too. Floating in space might not necessarily be a bad thing, you know?” he tells us.
Along similar sonic lines is the lo-fi number Ammo, a collaborative track between MK Abhilash, who makes chiptune-blended electronica under the moniker Murane Athma, and Aniruddha Prabhu. “This is a lo-fi pop song where I’ve sampled a Kannada folk song and built the beat around that,” Abhilash says, adding, “The contrast is provided with this almost poppy vocal melody sung on the track. Though the lyrics are written from the perspective of someone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the whole production and vocal style is very happy.” On the other side of the spectrum is Jeevan Antony’s soft and acoustic-style number, Birdie. “The song was actually recorded at the time when I had just left Texas, family, friends, and an ‘almost-marriage.’ Birdie was a letter I never sent,” says the Bengaluru-based artiste who is also part of bands Madras and Monsoon Search Party.
While Frnds & Fmly ’20 ranges in genres from lo-fi and alternative, to pop and abstract, it is so much more than the sum of its parts — it is a reflection of what the artistes feel about today’s milieu.
Available on online streaming platforms