It’s very easy to get consumed by one genre when listening to music especially when a lot of people are making the same type of sounds. Towards the back end of last year, just as I was desperately searching for something other than dubstep to comfort my ears, I found a double act. Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao, a contemporary, trip-hop band that go by the appellation – Sulk Station, who were just the breath of fresh air I needed.
Three years in the making, this Bangalore base duo have just released their ten track debut album ‘Till You Appear’, an interesting mélange of sound that invoke dark undercurrents of post-dubstep you would normally associate with Massive Attack or even Burial.
The album’s textured and deep tones rely heavily on abstract and ambient sounds as displayed by tracks like ‘Downlift’ coalesce to create a brooding vibe that sets off the imagination. With Rao’s poignant vocal prowess (in both western and Indian classical) and Giri’s floculent lo-fi melodies zestfully powered through a tease of rising tension of pulsating synths. Providing a climatic endeavour that creates a series melodramatic peaks only to find it being restored to its calm former self as the vocals recover.
It’s only until you reach the sixth track ‘Bindya’ do you hear an alternative side to Sulk Station. Compared to the rest of the album, it is a lighter more airy affair. ‘Bindya’ itself is a simple track, which stands out solely because of its superb melody sang by Rao in Hindi. She seems to casting aside, albeit temporarily, her melancholy persona to deliver this beautiful track. Giri fashions this incredible canvas of sounds initially introduced by a tambourine that progressively picks up pace to unfold into this subtle drum ’n’ bass piece without comprising the integrity of the unanticipated vocal agility of Rao. It’s like candy floss for the ears!
Sulk Station featured on BalconyTV Delhi
Finally finishing off with ‘Wait’, another dark, brooding track, illuminated with some thundering rock guitar action from Kamal Singh, who fronts Lounge Piranha. The tune is a stunning interplay of wailing vocals and soaring electric guitar competing against each other, all the while juxtaposed with a calm, rhythmic bassline that ties the entire track together.
It’s pretty obvious that both Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao are from totally different musical backgrounds. But they somehow make things work into an eclectic debut. The occasional light that Giri provides through his electronic concoction to balance out Rao’s melancholy spirit manages not sound chaotic or contrived.
After such a significant debut like this one, an upcoming band can proceed in several ways. More often than not, some just have a one hit wonder and slip away into the abyss never to be seen or heard of, not likely in this case! Being inspired by the Bristol underground sound from Bangalore is something to be incredibly excited about, why, because India is still in its independent music infancy. This means we have the good fortune of looking forward to what Sulk Station have to offer in the same way as bands like Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack brought us a sense of euphoria over the last decade.