Modern day Yakshas (Sanskrit for nature spirits) channel the elements of nature in live recordings, rooted in acoustic sounds. Each performance of this experiential acoustic project works best when performed in a particular ecological setting and none is repeated twice. The first leg of this collaborative solo project - that features handpan artist Ishaan Zaveri - has now reached a fitting conclusion, with the recently released self-titled EP.
The 4-track EP release is succeeded by a verdant video Lacuna.
Call it a spa for your senses or a midweek breather you deserve - the lush sounds and sights of Lacuna make for a wonderful addition to your new unwind playlist. Inspired by the ineffable relationship humans share with nature, the concept was initially developed during a rehearsal in the woods and the structure one hears today was born of its own will, without any conscious intervention. Lacuna was shot live, as were all the other tracks.
Lacuna is a free-flowing piece that is characterised by the emotion of feeling at ease in nature. Recorded in an orchard in the outskirts of the city of Mumbai, this performance was the most nuanced one they have recorded till date. Based on the ragas Mohanam and Kalyani, Lacuna brings forth spontaneity by juxtaposing melody and harmony. Furthermore, sounds of nature were recorded specially through the course of the performance so the listener could experience nature as the musicians felt it.
Lacuna is Yaksha’s third single and second video, which follows the release of their debut EP. Yaksha’s first video single Jungle Blues was released in October 2022. They started 2023 with a string of singles - Bhairav (video single) in January, Lacuna (audio release) in February and finally audio singles Yaman and Solipsis in March 2023, which culminated into the maiden self-titled EP of this improv act.
Yaksha’s self-titled EP is centred around Indian ragas that are improvised during free flowing, live recordings. The video singles are shot in the midst of nature in venues such as the banks of an ocean or a lush orchard. Aditya’s approach to Yaksha was to retain his instinct and organic approach for each track. The songs flow seamlessly into each other with momentum at the start giving way to a certain sweetness by the conclusion of the EP. The collaborative project’s first EP is a contemporary collection of earthy, rooted music - an ideal listen for a keen listener in 2023.
Earthy and soothing to its core - Yaksha came to life with Aditya Mohanan’s aspiration to reinterpret acoustic performance. The guitar-player and vocalist set out with the intent of curating an ensemble that is raw and spontaneous to the core. Soon enough he came across handpan artist Ishaan Zaveri and their collaboration quickly took on an improvisational tone, where real-time musical experimentations ensued using the two instruments. “Yaksha stemmed forth from our relationship with nature, somewhere in 2020, with the aim of exploring improvisational instrumental music in a modern Indic context,” says Aditya, who is a historian by profession.
The cover art and animations are created by Mumbai-based animator, illustrator and storyteller Nayanika Chatterjee.
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