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2021 Year In Review - Part Two

Dec 30, 05:08pm

Was this the year of the EP?

Along with 2021 being another year where listicles like this one kept going strong, another format continued its rise in prominence – the EP (that’s Extended Play, by the way). Now the logic behind it is relatively obvious. Attention spans are dropping like stones, and the most efficient way for a musician to drop some music in a package is in a shorter format. This isn’t a bad thing though, as some people might have you believe. Artists are telling smart, interesting stories without the need for deep cuts; while it’s clear that the album is the premier listening experience, the EP is now the musical short story. That’s exciting, and so are these releases you might or might not have come across this year.

 

x_p – lost

 

 

Indore producer Sidharth Upmanyu brings a whole lot of flavour to electronic music on this delightful collection of three tracks, fusing acoustic warmth with some truly lovely grooves. This EP is contemplative and soaring at the same time, perfect for a quiet moment. You can’t say that about a piece of music too often

 

Fuzzculture – Strange Cities

 

 

Mumbai artist Fuzzculture has been at it for a bit, but this release sounds fresher than ever. This is due in part to a more experimental (relatively) sound that combines hooks with a hell of a lot of detail. This is a bunch of songs that give up more of their detail and secrets with every listen, making it a hugely rewarding experience to revisit once in a while.

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Friends From Moon – The Spectator

 

 

Delhi songwriter Ritwik Shivam does orchestral progressive music a great service on this EP in less than half an hour. Long-winded compositions are the flavour of the day as far as the genre is concerned, but he covers a hilarious span of sonic influences here. There’s everything from cinematic orchestral material to hard riffage to strong grooves here, and it’s all top shelf.

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Bipul Chettri – Samaya

 

 

One of the most beautiful collections of songs you’ll hear and maybe more, Samaya is simply sublime. It’s also the opposite of the ‘escape from reality’ approach a lot of artists have taken this year. This is a heartbreaking account of a person struggling to understand the isolation and pain that lockdown and the last 2 years have brought on us, but it’s also stunningly beautiful. Absolute must-listen.

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Dot. – Khamotion

 

 

Sure, given the sort of material (and the amount of it), you would be forgiven for thinking the debut studio release from singer-songwriter Dot. is something of an album. Either way, it’s a top-tier collection of old-world jazz-pop that will send your nostalgia brain into orbit. It goes without saying that it’s all class, but it is nevertheless worth appreciating the sheer quality of the stuff on here. It’s rather strong.

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Flint Knife Murder – Aadi Rakshas

 

 

For many, this EP does come out of left field. However, when you listen to it, it sounds completely right for what it is. The Shillong two-piece combines stories that draw on both the more gory side of Indian folk storytelling and real life events with bruising, often wonderfully lo-fi metal. There’s something very base and primal about how they write and perform their music that fits the subject matter perfectly. A trip.

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Kitanu – Self-Titled

 

 

Delhi’s Kitanu seem to be working towards some sort of rock-fusion with their sound, but their EP is most decidedly not that, and that’s why it ends up deserving a listen. There’s some sarod mixed in with rock and more classic Western popular presentations, but at the end of the day, the band does what a lot of people hope for with ‘fusion’, which is to seamlessly bring an influence into another. That lack of pretense makes this release good.

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Abdon Mech – From A Bamboo Room

 

 

Dimapur singer-songwriter Abdon Mech is very, very assured on this debut release. If there was ever a release where you could satisfy your penchant for straight-up indie acoustic slappers, this is very much it. Every song is custom-built to sing along to, and it’s not just some please-all pabulum. This is genuinely solidly written material, and if you ever wanted to know what doing the simple things right results in, look no further.

Follow Abdon Mech

 

We’re rounding out the year with albums tomorrow. Please stay safe!

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