• Sat, Jun 25, 2022
Reviews

Skand Paints A Deeply Detailed Picture On His Often Surprising Debut Album

8.0

album Reviews Feb 25, 05:58pm

‘Neo-Electoro’ is what happens when you give music a bit of time

You can tell by listening to a couple minutes of Jaipur artist-producer Skand’s rather nice debut album ‘Neo-Electoro’ and tell that some serious thought has gone into the music presented on it. He’s spent a solid decade in the scene and a solid two years writing this thing, and it does show in a way. The real word to describe such an approach is thoughtful, and he makes that time count more than anyting else. There’s a decidedly electronic bent to this thing, and not the kind of thing that gets slapped together in a day on a DAW. When an artist is at this early stage in their personal output, there’s a lot to figure out; sound, production, message and much more. That’s all been done.

The production definitely comes first. Skand’s vocals are relatively simple and clear, and while they put across his musings on life and the terribly strange world we have to live in, it’s the sonic palate of the album that builds his world. What is that palate? It’s electronic and contemplative. It has the soft and warm sounds of downtempo and IDM, the stuttering grooves of the latter, and the emotional sweet spot of alternative pop. Yes, pop ballads do have a big hand in what you will hear here. That sense of melancholy has been a favourite of many; these listeners will not be disappointed.

 

 

There’s a lot of music on this album. Nine songs and more than 45 minutes of music makes its way onto ‘Neo-Electoro’. The opening track (its title track) is perhaps one of the more poignant moments on the whole thing; seven minutes of hushed, quiet electronic fare. What this does is allow for plenty of moments where the instrumentation opens up like a sunrise, and these are lovely to hear. It isn’t even a huge explosion of colour that does this; often, it’s just a synth swell or a nice chord and suddenly the song’s despondent air is gone and now it’s something that will start your day off on a good note. This isn’t very easy to do. Another highlight arrives on the third tune, ‘Stranger’, a dreamy and ethereal tune with some absolutely lovely chords. This is a contemplative song and makes no bones about it. ‘Grass’ and ‘Bleed Like A Man’ were the album’s singles and they offer much more context. ‘Grass’ uses piano in its sparse arrangement, but it’s the skittering and urgent groove that takes the song over the top. The latter is a much more danceable affair, and far more dark; delightfully so. The stunning ‘I’m Hearing Something’ applies this aesthetic to something of a Latin influence that sounds like techno-meets-cumbia. Some somber vocals and lyrics give this song a ton of layers that merit an equal number of listens. This is no joke.

The idea of ‘Neo-Electoro’ is quite simple, which is to tell some sort of compelling story. The songs on it, however, do the most cliched thing really well, which is ‘to paint a picture’. This isn’t something to write about, analyze, or even overly praise. It’s something to listen. In a sense, that’s what music is supposed to do, which is to encourage the listener to give it their time. This does so.

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