2017 is about to close, and it has been an interesting year for bands and musicians in India. A number of new acts put out their debut albums and EPs, many festivals were organized across the country, and we even had a few notable international acts play here.

We asked some music writers and promoters to contribute to our very first End Of The Year list. The idea was for each person to pick an album or EP put out by an Indian musician in 2017, and write a bit about why that artist stood out for them.

Here is the second part of the list with picks from collectives and promoters:

1. BuruduDitties (Self-released)
by Nishant Gadhok (Gently Altered)

 

According to me, Ditties is one of the best pieces of music to have come out of the Indian electronic music soundscape. Their style and approach has created something very unique. Filled with passion and emotions, each and every track makes you feel something. Even though I’m their manager and this might seem of personal interest to me, I really believe that this one of my favourite albums till date. Their live interpretation of the same is something that one needs to look out for as well.

[Listen to ‘Ditties’ here]

2. KumailFrom You To Blue (Knowmad Records)
by Nush Lewis (OffSet)

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Kumail’s EP “From You To Blue” was very different from what we were used to seeing him do. It was nice to see him playing live with live musicians and just a new sound. Evolution is always welcome.

[Listen to ‘From You To Blue’ here]

3. Ape EchoesApe Machines EP (Nrtya)
by Raghu Vamshi (Nrtya)

 

Ape Machines, the debut EP by Bombay based producers and multi-instrumentalist duo Ape Echoes comprised of Nirmit Shah and Sid Shirodkar would be our pick for the EP of the year. After forming in early 2016, the pair was soon joined by Sahil Shah and Harsh Gadhvi. Their debut EP, ‘Ape Machines’, was released in August 2017. Alternatively moving through territories influenced by crossover-jazz, electronica, noise, hip-hop, prog-rock, funk, and soul, Ape Machines forms a sonically and emotionally varied palette. What’s truly phenomenal is the sonic textures of the elements in each track progressing and evolving at first in a way that defies prediction, but over a number of listens, feels as though it couldn’t be any other way, creating a unique and intricate listening experience, which grows deeper with every listen. The musical narrative is extremely engrossing in all of the compositions and we’re eagerly awaiting their upcoming releases.

Edit: Ape Machines EP was self-released by the artist.

[Listen to ‘Ape Machines’ here]

4. FireghostAmong The Leaves (self-released)
by Ramkrishnan Krishnan (Unscene)

 

Quite like his other music projects – Stuck In November and Deadstar – guitarist and composer Nihal Anand’s new solo effort as Fireghost dropped an EP, “Among The Leaves” late November, 2017 to no fanfare. And quite like those others, this one is filled with goodness. Soothing vocals and pleasing tunes that colour seemingly idyllic scenes from the woods hide a mild menace just below the surface as you pay closer attention to the lyrics and nuances in the music. That hint of disturbia makes these songs a subversive delight for me. Favourite tracks: Under The Lake and Meeting The Forest Ghost

[Listen to ‘Among The Leaves’ here]

5. TetragrammacidePrimal Incinerators of Moral Matrix (Iron Bonehead Productions)
by Rana Ghose (REProduce Artists)

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In an era where the risk brokers of most “indie” musical talent in India exist firmly in the corporate sphere of sponsorship and palatability, the third LP release from Tetragrammacide exists as an utterly convincing reminder of the value of utter rejection and mercenary sincerity.  Moving away from the side chained blast beat meditations that characterised their earlier work, this release sees them finding a balance between ejecting all known frequencies to render matter into their atomic essence, and a newer approach of allowing you to choose your own demise.  Forget India; this body of work stands nearly peerless anywhere on Earth, but with one distinction.  If the proto-Tetragammacide four piece Necrodeity were inspired to exist due to attending the first iteration of Bangalore’s Trendslaughter festival in 2011, then perhaps musical salvation in this country is only going to emerge from a seemingly inhuman capacity to stay true to your vision in the face of mediocrity, implying that building arenas in India to allow that level of risk taking is even more important than ever.  That said, if the myriad of challenges that frame live music showcasing in Kolkata blocks many entrants from even trying, this album is a welcome punch in the face to remind me that, sometimes, visionaries thrive in immediate environments where no one is listening.

[Listen to ‘Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix’ here]

6. Woody Accouche ProjectJive Tribe (self-released)
by Ritnika Nayan Shrivastava (Music Gets Me High)

 

‘Jive Tribe’ released by Woody Accouche Project is an underground reggae, folk album released this year. What I like about this album, is the organic feel to the music. Songs like Summer Holiday remind me of my Goa days, when all you need is a chilled beer and the ocean, and life feels complete.

[Listen to ‘Jive Tribe’ here]

7. Ennui.BOMB’s Annual Stupiditties compilation, Vol. 11 (ennui.BOMB)
by Rishu Singh (ennui.BOMB)

 

My favorite album of the year is ennui.BOMB’s released Stupiditties 11 : Ask 11 Brewers Get 10 Answers, I pat myself on my back for having brought artists like Iblinkwhenithink, Kum Chirui, Diarchy, Across Seconds, Dionysian, Greyfade, Lo! Peninsula, The Baby Boomrs and so many more to the forefront in our tiny little way. Our website is down cause we haven’t paid our bills, but it will be up soon and in the meantime check out the artists on the playlist, this is the India of today & tomorrow, please check them out.

[Listen to ‘Stupiditties vol.11 here]

8. Sid VashiAzuma Kazuma (self-released)
by Uday Kapur (Azadi Records)

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/634081449365237764/V-8jaVFZ_400x400.jpg  https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0627907977_16.jpg

Sid Vashi is often caught shuffling between two disciplines. On the one hand, he’s an aspiring medical student who’s on the brink of embarking on a path that most Indian parents would, and do, give an arm and a leg for. On the other hand, he’s a part of a group of multi-talented Indian producers that are pushing boundaries – both at home and abroad. In 2017, with the release of his enthralling debut album Azuma Kazuma, Vashi showed incredible guile in crafting a release that brought together elements of Bollywood, hip-hop and R&B. Ghosts Don’t Follow Me, Wai Wai and Darling easily rank in my top Indian independent songs of all time andd it’s been enthralling to witness the development and culmination of Vashi’s artistic vision (including a visual collaboration with Johnny Ganta) on this record.

[Listen to ‘Azuma Kazuma’ here]

Read part 1 of the the list with picks from music writers here

What was your favorite album from 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

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