Tony Das and Sandeep Chowta's new album, Re-Laxman, Vol 1, is both groovy and relaxing
Right from the first track, the Re-Laxman, Vol. 1 album by Tony Das and Sandeep Chowta, has a groovy yet laid back vibe. Named so to represent what the tracks are aimed at, the rest of the music too is extremely relaxing and tranquil, while making sure that Das’ seasoned guitar skills combined with Chowta’s spectacular arrangements shine through.
While the two have been working together professionally for over 13 years now, this collaboration has been long in the offing. After teaming up for various background scores for multiple movies, as well as Chowta’s magnum opus ‘Matters Of The Heart”, Re-Laxman has finally found fruition due to the lockdown urging both the musicians to put out new music which could have a positive effect on people. “We want this album to bring some peace, as corny as that might sound!”, Das jokes, talking about the calming vibe they aimed for with this album, released under Chowta’s label Namma Music, which has hit #1 on Apple iTunes charts already.
With their regular music enterprises (Thermal and a Quarter, Peepal Tree for Das, and film-based music and background scores in Chowta’s case), a lot of such content often does not get released, which is why this album has given them the space to experiment with their various musical interests and styles. Through Re-Laxman, both of them have entered a different sound from their previous projects, delivering a blues/jazz lounge feel with a dash of Hindustani thrown in. “I wanted a sound that would not have too many structures or too many time signatures, just one kind of tempo”, shares Chowta, talking about making music that people could connect and reconnect with over multiple listens. This is seen in how each track subtly moves into the next as the album progresses.
With the lockdown in place, Das and Chowta wished to make the process of creating this album seamless and easy, which is why they limited it to just the two of them. “Tony’s an amazing guitar player – it was easy for us to collaborate,” says Chowta, adding how they never met during the making of the album and he would simply send tracks over to Das over which he composed his guitar lines. “It just made sense to keep it between us, for the sake of the workflow,” explains Das, speaking of how certain measures were taken which may have been out of their comfort zone but were necessary. Featuring among these is Das’ immensely groovy bass-playing, which he humbly calls ‘rudimentary,’ but which is perfectly expressive, helping to strengthen the groove and add to the flowy elements of the songs – especially on the tracks ‘Counting Sheep’ and ‘Three Four Shut the Door’.
They have also released ‘jam tracks’ for these songs on the album, a different approach urging musicians to not just listen but get inspired by and compose music the Re-Laxman way. “I feel it’s a great way to engage with an audience which may be largely new, considering this is so different from our other projects”, shares Das.
Both the musicians are now gearing up to create more content online and connect with more artistes and audiences, in light of the pandemic and its effect on the industry. “I have been doing music in the online space for a while,” shares Chowta, talking about how his international collaborations have largely been over the Internet owing to travel restrictions. Seeing as how this is Namma Music’s 14th album release since their inception seven months ago, new music will continue being created and released. “We've already started discussing the next Re-Laxman,” says Das, signing off.
Available on online streaming platforms.