Jaimin Rajani’s debut album Cutting Loose is high on melody and emotions
A host of guest artistes are part of the album including Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean, Abhay Sharma of The Revisit Project on saxophone and sitarist Kalyan Majumdar among others
Kolkata-based Jaimin Rajani joins the bandwagon of indie artistes in the country churning out original songs in English, something though not a rarity in the city full of musicians, but unique nevertheless. A die-hard fan of legendary American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, he dropped his debut album Cutting Loose, a 14-track ensemble that has some of the finest musicians on board. We caught up with Rajani to know more about the album.
Since this is your debut album, what convinced you to drop a set of songs and not go with one song at a time — a trend in the indie music scene?
Actually, I was always convinced to record a full-length album and no one was able to convince me to give up that idea. While I’m fully aware of the diminishing concentration span of the listener and honestly, these days, even I find it hard to sit through an album unless it’s extremely compelling, the goal was to come up with something captivating. I’m not sure how successfully we’ve managed to accomplish that, but we worked towards it and did our best.
These days, all the new music comes with an expiry date. It is talked about and heard while it’s fresh and new, and then forgotten in no time. That might happen to my songs as well, but I tried to do it the way it was done earlier and did not follow the vogue. It’s just the school of music and way of doing things I subscribe to. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to put out singles and EPs in the future.
Tell us about the idea behind Cutting Loose and the team behind it.
Since I’ve been sitting on all my songs, the idea was to put out a mix of my early and recent compositions that can be classified under one theme – conflicts and departure; songs that sound primal and contemporary at the same time.
How is the overall mood of the album since the note says it's about 'conflicts, disappointment, and departure'?
While lyrically, many of the songs do talk about unpleasant experiences stemming from disappointment and unwanted changes, they’re mostly juxtaposed with happy, sweet melodies, making them bittersweet. I don’t know how exactly to define the mood of the album. Soft, mellow, and warm, perhaps.
How long did it take to curate the album?
It took us about eighteen months of recording and production work to put it all together.
Your very first song is 'Home'. Why did you choose this to be the opening number?
‘Home’ is also the first song I ever wrote after learning to play a few cowboy chords on the guitar. So, it made perfect sense to place it right at the beginning, and start with it. The order of songs was decided primarily to ensure smooth sonic transitions and a seamless listening experience.
You have a host of artistes contributing to the album. Tell us about them in brief.
If I’m not wrong, there are about eighteen musicians who’ve contributed to this project. My friend, Subharaj Ghosh, who graduated from Berklee College of Music, started the production work with me in December 2020. He has worked on this project in several capacities – lead guitarist, co-arranger, and various other roles.
While getting musicians on board, I went all out and was overambitious, but ultimately, I did manage to get some notable artistes and some like Arka Chakraborty (pianist), who I believe, are at the paragon of artistry. Ahmedabad-based sound engineer Protyay Chakraborty mixed and mastered the album. Other than the musicians, there isn’t really a team behind this project. Being an indie release, it’s more of a “DIY” thing along with my distributor and my publisher.
Additionally, a host of guest artistes are featured, viz. Rahul Ram (of Indian Ocean), Abhay Sharma (of The Revisit Project) on saxophone, Kalyan Majumdar (Sitarist),
I’ve already recorded some more new music for next year (hopefully), but the remaining work on it has been put on hold for the time being. Now that this album is out, I’m completely invested in trying to maximise its reach.