Pump Down the Jamhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/pump-down-the-jam/

Pump Down the Jam

Shaa’ir + Func, the live dance music band, slows their music down on their latest record, Re:Cover, but picks up the pace with four releases this year.

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About 20 people, most of whom were Shaa’ir + Func’s close friends with a dash of journalists, gathered at the listening party of the electronic live music band’s latest album, Re:Cover, last month. The night had an easy-going vibe, a generous serving of samosas and alcohol, with the album playing on loop in the background — the chatter rising above the music regularly. But Monica Dogra and Randolph Correia, the duo that make up the band, didn’t mind that. The point of the album they say, was to make music to chill with. “We have made so much bass music and loud punk music, we’ve done the big sound. With this album we wanted to go more organic, rely less on computers and play around with analogue instruments,” says Dogra.

On the eight-track record, the band has stripped down a select few songs from their discography to its bare framework, and arranged them all over again. That’s where the name of the album comes from, says Dogra. “There are a lot of words that start with ‘re’ — revisit, resurrect, relive — and of course we are covering our own tracks, hence Re:Cover,” she says.

Leading up to the album, there was talk in music circles about the dance music live act trading their heavy electronic sound for an acoustic set. But listening to the band’s music with just a guitar and a singer was not in sync with the band’s sensibility, says Correia. The acoustic set was initially meant for live gigs, but the idea gradually morphed into making an album. “We chose tracks that were comfortable in an acoustic skin. It’s not a traditional remix album with beats added to the same chord progression, played in an acoustic set up. The songs all sound new,” says Correia.

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In Freedom, a track from their second album, Light Tribe, Dogra’s voice rises above the electronic cacophony of a dirty bassline punctuated by bleeps and bloops. In Re:Cover, the same song, has a guitar being strum that forms the bass interspersed with an analogue keyboard. When Dogra’s voice kicks in, the vocal arrangements are completely different, and mellower. “Since the originals are so much heavier, they sound like remixes,” says Correia.

The duo has always been prolific — when they started off, they released two albums in consecutive years. This year, they are going to up that feat, by releasing four records. Other than Re:Cover and the next S+F record, both Dogra and Correia will release one solo album each.

A single from Dogra’s solo, Suspended, which was featured on the TV show The Dewarists is already out. But the flak the track got from the music community has made her apprehensive, and she has delayed the release of the album though it is ready to roll out. “I need managers to realise that I can’t be clubbed into the ‘semi-attractive-chick-who-can-sing’ club. That’s why I wanted to make the album.
But people said really awful things after Suspended was released, and that’s made me very shaky. I have been walking alone for a while. I feel that all of my friends from the indie scene have been thinking of me as a celebrity sell-out chick. But I have not done one thing I have not believed in. I am excited about the record, but I will release it when I feel the vibe is right,” she says. Correia on the other hand is upbeat about his release and is producing a drum ‘n’ bass album that is close to completion.

For now, both of them are confident about Re:Cover which releases today, and will be up for download on the band’s Soundcloud page.