4lienetic’s upcoming ambient album, Waking Life, is a deep dive into a minimalist and meditative space
SUGAM KHETAN AKA 4lienetic’s new album Waking Life draws you in instantly with a sense of wonder and awe. Purely ambient music, with classical undertones, the 11-track album is contemplative and tranquil. The Mumbai-based artiste drops the album later this week, and our sneak peek into it revealed a celestial and otherworldly space.
The album takes its title from the 2001 Richard Linklater movie of the same name that tackles lucid dreaming and reality. “Watching that movie fuelled my inquisitiveness and led to me pondering about similar concepts. So I eventually decided to name the album after it,” Sugam shares. The artiste’s inspirations also range from topics such as Greek mythology to video games like Last of Us and Life is Strange.
The album seamlessly flows from one track to the other. Songs Asphodel Meadows, Fimbulwinter, Flight Plan and Andromeda stood out, for their ethereal quality. Space, as a theme and as an influence is apparent from the songs, as well as the album art. “I read about topics such as space, creation and mythology a lot when I have the time. The music I made this time also had a very minimalistic and introspective vibe to it. Eventually the two just worked hand in hand subconsciously and I ended up with a lot of tracks that reflected these very concepts I spend my time with,” he says.
Sugam tells us that his journey with ambient music began when he heard British musician Phaeleh eight years ago. “I started listening to more artistes like Manu Shrine, Burial and Volor Flex, and fell in love with future garage music. I became a part of a community of underground music producers on Soundcloud and somewhere down the line, I felt like experimenting a little and toning things down to a more minimalistic setting. So I create ambient and modern classical music inspired by acts such as Brian Eno and Boards of Canada,” he shares.
A few songs boast music videos featuring animated motion graphics that were made by Sugam himself. The movement in the video breathes life into the songs. The song Jotunheim has an accompanying music video shot by filmmaker Karim Kassem that has a cinematic quality to it. “It was filmed in the Catskill Mountains of New York. In the midst of all the noise, I wanted to find peace in the transition of seasons. I knew that it was the end of winter and spring in the New York mountains is hypnotic. Quarantining in such a place invited an air of thought that went well with 4lienetic’s ambient sounds,” Karim tells us. Up next, Sugam has a few musical collaborations that he is waiting to release. Apart from that, the artiste is looking forward to vacation, as soon as things get better. “That might also serve to fuel my inspiration so I can come back with a fresh mind ready to take on another project,” he signs off.
Releases July 30. On online streaming platforms