Mixtape Master

Fresh off his debut EP release,independent artiste Nikhil Kaul will perform in the city as part of a multi-city tour.

Written by Debjani Paul | Published: November 20, 2013 3:34:13 am

Like so many musicians before him,Nikhil Kaul made his musical beginnings playing in punk and alternative rock bands in school and college. But as his interests evolved,so did his music,and he turned to songwriting. While he spent a few years in and after college writing and performing acoustic music,it wasn’t long before he got curious about what his friends were listening to: “bands with a somewhat electronic influence — a lot of Radiohead,post rock and trip hop”.

This is as much an introduction to the musician as it is to Swimmers,Kaul’s first EP launched under his Frame/Frame avatar. The five-track EP doesn’t seem to fit into any known formula. Instead,it’s a bit like an intersection of the several styles and genres that have piqued his interest over the years.

So where Pastels leans towards an almost rock ‘n’ roll bent,Minus is an orchestra chopped up into tiny bits,Kaul points out. “I believe the mixtape sensibility of the music is a result of my fondness for listening to different styles — electronica,folk,punk,rock and metal. A lot of the music I write is for listeners like me who have short attention spans,” he says.

Even with all the different influences,Kaul’s ode to experimentation does seem to stick together. Each of the tracks is crisp and interesting. Kaul gives the credit for this to his experience as a solo acoustic musician. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done because it all comes down to how engaging your material is. Knowing how to write something with the bare minimum has come into play with almost all the melodies I write now,” he says.

For those who’ve listened to some of the tracks off his EP — Feather,Swimmers or Rogue — and wondered how exactly Kaul has captured the simultaneously weird and futuristic effect,part of it may come from the rather unusual sounds he has used. “Feather and Swimmers were exercises in sampling sounds in my kitchen and bathroom respectively. The sounds on Feather are actually my frying pan sizzling away; in Swimmers,the claps are layered with splashes of water,” Kaul says. “The EP is available online for free streaming and download,the plot is to get Swimmers on to as many hard disks as possible,” he says.

Kaul is also beginning a multi-city tour for the EP. The tour will bring him to the city on Wednesday,for a live solo performance at The Scene at Arc Asia. “I will be performing a lot of the guitar parts and vocals in the EP,live. Other than that,I will be mashing up live sampling — be it hip hop vocals or new rhythms that I’ll be inserting into the tunes to keep them fresh and in a way that you wouldn’t have on the released versions,” he says.

Kaul will perform at The Scene at Arc Asia on Wednesday,8 pm onwards

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