• Mon, Oct 25, 2021

Till Apes Makes You Move And Think At The Same Time


album Reviews Apr 29, 10:41am

‘Scissor Salad’ balances experimentation and head-nodding groove with relative ease
 Photo Courtesy: Till Apes

Bangalore’s Till Apes is currently working towards the release of their debut EP, but their sound is already cohesive and entertaining. Their blend of swampy neo-soul, hip-hop that sounds inspired by boom-bap and the sampling era (everything is performed here though) and a little weirdness is very current and already quite mature for such a new act. Their single ‘Scissor Salad’ turns the funk up but retains some complexity so that you can be a little cerebral while uncontrollably shaking your booty.

The song is produced immaculately (credited to Amrith Raghunathan). At some point last decade, many genres shifted away from expansiveness and went towards being as ‘cozy’ and dry with its elements as possible; ‘Scissor Salad’ follows this recipe to good effect. There is a lot going on instrumentally but each element finds its own little space. The drums, for example, are very tight, very compressed and quite accentuated. One can clearly hear every little hit and note, which makes grooves stank face-worthy. Sange Wangchuk's drums and Soorya Praveen's bass are locked in but leave each other to roam wild whenever they get a chance. The song is built on top of the rhythm section and some semi-percussive guitars in the best traditions of the genres it references; the other personnel (Gautam David on saxophone, Philip John on keys, Nathaniel Sametz on trombone and Vaibhav Sharma on trumpet) are given all the freedom in the world to explore their parts and play around with each other. The structuring of 'Scissor Salad' is also conducive to this, starting out with a funky-ass groove which will make your head move like a pigeon. There are bass licks, keyboard licks, horns playing in tandem and some separate snatches of all this happening at the same time, which is a lot and at times draws attention slightly to its detriment. The track eventually (and sensibly) ducks out of this tempo before it gets overbearing. It goes into a much more relaxed section on the the last third, where all the instrumentation finally breathes and blooms and rapper Hanumankind has a slow but groovy verse. There’s something about having a live band with these sounds backing up a more deliberate vocal delivery; an off the wall quality Kendrick Lamar used to great effect in the 2010s and a flow rappers like Ka are great at (listen to his amazing Hermit And The Recluse project if you haven’t).



‘Scissor Salad’ is a layered and very dense track. In some ways it is an assault to the ears; there are so many little things to catch on to and that might prove distracting on first listen. But Till Apes do the smart thing by arranging all these moments around a groove that will pull focus without doubt. So all the subtlety and masses of disparate sounds will probably reach your ears on repeat listens; until then, dance.

Listen to 'Scissor Salad' here.


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