An ever evolving musical journey

An ever evolving musical journey

By AKHIL SOOD | | 5 September, 2015
Last Remaining Light recently released their debut album. | Photo: Jishnu Guha

Between playing and recording with Mumbai-based metal band Scribe (where he’s the vocalist), jamming for a new project with Sidd Coutto (it’s unnamed as yet but they’ve written some six songs already), working as a playback singer in Bollywood and the ad film industry (“That’s my bread and butter.”) and writing for his punk solo project, singer and songwriter Siddharth Basrur — prolific to a fault — has somehow managed to form yet another band. It’s called Last Remaining Light, and they’ve recently released their self-titled, 10-track debut album (available on www.oklisten.com). It’s chronologically an extension of his solo music — “You could say the seeds of the ideas on this album have come from me,” he says — but it’s evolved into a far more collaborative, dynamic setup, where his bandmates have played a key role developing his “very basic, singer-songwriter type” ideas into more focussed,

cohesive arrangements.

The music has a distinct alt-rock vibe, with proggy and more modern elements bouncing in and out of the mix. It’s a self-produced release, recorded at Arbitrandom Studio in Wadala; the bass and drums were recorded live, following which the guitars and vocals were tracked, and Basrur recalls how the entire process (minus the vocals) took all of four days. You can hear how it’s a group of musicians figuring out a direction to their sound, breezing through different thematic tendencies, all the while retaining a core element of melody through the voice. “We wanted it to be an ‘experience’; kind of like a journey,” says Basrur. So, when you hear construction noises and the sound of monkeys howling to close out Born to Follow, it’s reflecting on the words of the song, about the environment and “monkeys with tools”. 

You can hear how it’s a group of musicians figuring out a direction to their sound, breezing through different thematic tendencies, all the while retaining a core element of melody through the voice. “We wanted it to be an ‘experience’; kind of like a journey,” says Basrur.

Lyrically, there’s a range of subject material Basrur covers, from positivity and love to the city of Mumbai. “Spaces,” he explains, “is about individual space, about the space we’re trying to create for ourselves. I’ve lived in Mumbai all my life; I’ve seen it evolve and regress at the same time. There’s always a little space as long as we learn to accommodate. This city’s been accommodating our whims and fancies for the longest time, and still we keep building. One day, it’s going to break away from the mainland and it’s going to sink; it won’t be able to take it anymore and it’ll drown.” (There’s also a video for Spaces in the works, with a lot of the footage shot in Shillong.) Fat like Geppetto places Pinocchio in an alternate dimension, one where Geppetto gets fatter with each subsequent lie. There’s a fair bit of mush too, Basrur concedes, but he tries to approach it with maturity, using positivity and optimism, as on Conclusions. “There is a little bit of mush, but it’s not in your face; it’s subtle mush,” he laughs.

Last Remaining Light may have started life as the Siddharth Basrur Project/Band, and then Basrur and the Last Remaining Light, but Basrur is now certain that it’s a band and not a group of sessions musicians backing a vocalist, disassociating his name from the project and emphasising the collaborative nature of the music. The album reflects that to an extent, and the band members — Anurag Shankar (guitars), Adil Kurwa (bass) and Karun Kannampilly (drums) —have helped craft the music and impose their creative identities on to it. They’re all involved in other projects, but Last Remaining Light is still relatively new — they’ve only played a couple of gigs or so — but the response to the album has been exceptionally positive, far exceeding their expectations. “I honestly didn’t expect the response to be this good. I didn’t want to over-expect; it’s safer to under-expect. We did that, and the response has been great; obviously better than we’d anticipated.”

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