Music has its own language and a great emotional appeal, you don’t need words to express it and ‘INFINITY’ is indeed such a compilation with 7  exotic instrumental tracks which touch your heart at different levels. Endowed with sonorous mastery of the legendary Sarod Maestro Ustad Amzad Ali Khan Saheb who features for the first time in an electronica fusion album, the Bangash brothers Amaan & Ayaan following their father’s footsteps have no less mastered the art in touching the right chords.

It was at the Womad Festival in the UK 3 years ago when the Sarodist’s Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash  met Karsh Kale a pioneer of global fusion and electronica, a versatile percussionist and a music composer, as they together decided to make an album and then came ‘INFINITY’ … Amaan & Ayaan along with Karsh Kale take you through the creative journey behind the album in an interesting conversation with loudest.in

Infinity defines the endlessness, the purpose of life to realize a state of continuity that our soul undergoes birth after birth as it’s immortal and infinite. The album ‘INFINITY’ is dedicated to the beginning of every creation, as its melodious compositions are sure to touch every soul which listens to it… till eternity.

Combining the two unique styles of electronica and classical music, Karsh Kale, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash have outdone themselves with this album, which consists of 7 new songs. The album was recently launched by Producer-Director Karan Johar who has been a connoisseur of Indian music recently at a function in Mumbai in the presence of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan with wife Subhalakshmi Barua Khan, Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shweta Nanda, Ramesh Taurani, Niranjan Iyenger, and others.

Speaking at the occasion Karan Johar said, “I’ve grown up listening to Indian music, and that has been a major influence in my life and work. I am happy that Amaan and Ayaan have collaborated with Karsh since it will be an interesting step in a totally new direction for them. I really look forward to this myself as a filmmaker since music forms such an integral part of a movie. With our cinema evolving so much, a film’s sound and music play a key role in defining its plot and the characters. Hence, why I’m pleased to be a part of this collaboration with Amaan and Ayaan.”

The album is a mix of classical and electronic music with every track depicting a different emotion (rasa)… The title track ‘Infinity’ based on Raga Kamod played by Ayaan depicts the pangs of separation(Virha Shringar Rasa) pouring the Karun Bhav(pathos) with deep glides (meends) of Kamod, precise strokes and articulate pauses… which makes a moment stand… as someone awaits love, while the base harmonies accentuate an aura of purity in the background…

Each track in the album is defined by an Indian classical melody in which it is composed such as the track ‘Journeymen’ witnesses the maestro’s touch as Ustad Amzad Ali Khan fuses two exotic Indian melodies Bhatiyar and Bhairav to create a rare amalgamation, while the track ‘Love of my Life’  is composed in Raga Mishra Des, the track ‘Believe’ shows amalgamation of Shree and Poorvi at some points. The album has two beautiful songs by Shadow and Light, wherein the duo of Pavithra Chari and Anindo Bose collaborated on the tracks  ‘Space Between’  and ‘Darkness’ based on the lines of Raga Darbari is yet again a heart-wrenching melody well articulated by Amaan.

Putting the light on the idea behind the collaboration Ayaan says, “We tried to keep the essence of both the Indian and western traditions so that they are able to partake of each other without artistic compromise.  We are glad we got to try our hand at electronic music again, as it was wonderful to revisit the genre and Karsh Kale made it special as we connect on so many levels. Karsh is a visionary composer, producer and indeed a trailblazer for an entire scene to emerge in the world of electronica and fusion music.”

As Karsh puts it, to him fusion is to make sense to his listeners and people around him and thus being interactive, as he says, “So it’s all about finding and changing yourself to put together many things, how do I make people understand a raga by creating a different landscape, and that’s fusion to me. We thought to do something timeless. So every song is a totally different world, a universe in itself. It’s like creating a landscape or a painting which has one color say if it’s red, it is in its different shades, and so I tried to give 6 different sounds to the Sarod in each of the tracks.”

Amaan elaborating on experimenting with the sound says, “While composing we kept the melody part of it in mind, yet tried to showcase Sarod in 6 different tones in 6 different tracks, as they were shown in a different light. We decided to change the entire sound of the instrument and attempted to distort it at some places or made it sound more metallic, or rustic at other places. The idea was to experiment with its sound, as everyone knows it already. We tried to present it differently in different pitches, different textures and working with Karsh Bhai gave us that leverage to attempt this experiment, as he is a legend in the electronica space and I hope it comes well to the listeners too.”

So how did the creative process began tells Karsh, “It all started with classical Bandishes ( compositions) but I tried to give a different treatment to each one of them for example, one of the tracks which has raga ‘Des’ which is usually a very bright and a positive raga, there I tried to find spaces to bring in sounds which represent darker shades for a moment. All the tracks take you through an emotional journey in the space where the raga explores in itself. The tracks are named aptly what they came out to be eventually.”

Talking about key elements kept in mind while composing Amaan adds, “We tried to make it more staccato, wherein although melody was the priority, it was more stroke oriented and rhythmic. So technically it is a melody percussion oriented album, which has old compositions of our grandfather Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Saheb created in a new way.”

Amaan elaborates on how the composition differs while doing a classical piece verses a fusion piece,says, “While we are composing a fusion piece it’s always at the back of our minds what the post-production would be, so we actually work back words (10-1) from end to the beginning keeping the output in mind while we are recording unlike in classical music where we work from beginning till the end (1-10).”

So how was it collaborating with Amaan & Ayaan tells Karsh, “The process was very smooth and there was lots of synergy and trust between us as they allowed me to do what I wanted, without any intervention. It was very fluid and not structured as such, we just knew that if we allow this process to happen we will land-up with something good, and so it came out so well.”

Ayaan advocates attempting fusion being a traditionalist saying, “Anything creative is like a musical flirtation and I don’t think on any level, it dilutes who you are as a musician. We have done what we believe in and there have also been many projects and offers in the past, that we have said no to, as we didn’t feel it would work for us.”

The album is certainly a must to be on your playlists, which is released exclusively on Jiosaavn!

https://www.jiosaavn.com/album/infinity/rlPiCGFarQg_

 

Author

A Hindustani Classical Vocalist and a Musicologist. Pursuing Ph.D. in the same from Delhi University. Presently working with exchange 4media writing across domains ranging from Digital, Marketing, Advertising, Events, Music, Artforms, Artists and lots more... Getting better with time!

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