- Band / Artist Harsha Iyer
- Genre Experimental/Indie Pop
- Label Unsigned
- Format Album
For lack of a better word, “curious” would definitely be the word to describe Harsha Iyer’s album CURIOUS TOYS. It seems to me that Chennai has become a hub for Experimental/Krautrock type of music. This movement has yet to grasp the music scene of the rest of India which still slumbers peacefully in the lap of either Metal or Alternative Rock. It is a great surprise to see how the youth are finally taking the initiative to independently produce music of the own and remain faithful to their likes and dislikes. Harsha Iyer, a 19 year old Indie musician, has spearheaded this movement with his debut album that has been received with open arms by the changing moods of people’s music choices.
Had this album been released a couple of years back it would not have gained the popularity it is attaining at this period of time mainly because of the lack of resources and listeners of Experimental music. Therefore call it a twist of fate or just plain, simple luck that he has managed to flower at the most ideal time for his musical endeavour. Nonetheless, one cannot just praise his lucky stars and due credit must be given to the artist own perseverance and dedication to his art, as he took a great risk by not joining college, which in our society is almost unthinkable. This only emphasizes his belief in himself and his music and is a commendable thing.
The definition of his genre is quite a complex task and has much of a Post-Punk influence. With such a diversity in his music ranging from artist of the early 80’s to quite recent sound mixing techniques it becomes a very difficult task to ascertain the core fundamentals of his work. Regardless of the basis of his music a very steady melodic ring runs amok almost of his songs and has a very dominant grasp on the ear. He brings to the scene a voice that has not been heard very often. Its uniqueness lies in the quality and timbre of his voice. Sometimes scratchy, quick to oscillate between falsettos his vocal technique is quite unorthodox. A very important characteristic of his music is the randomness of the sound. There seems an attempt to counter the minimalistic approach to music, to emancipate itself from the shackles of an ordered attempt of composition. There is a chaos in his sound, and the concoction of very clever use of guitars to the electronic sounds produces a hotchpotch mixture that has quite an unexpected and delightful end result. I must admit that we reviewers are a very hypocritical breed and we tend to say that every artist’s songs are different and new when we actually don’t mean it! So even though it might sound a little clichéd when I say this but I honestly think everyone of his songs has something new to offer! That too coming from someone who is 19 years old is an inspiration in itself for all young musicians in India.
Choosing a couple of songs from the album and writing a little bit about them didn’t seem like the right thing to do. Mainly because all of the twelve songs were so different in genre, technique and style that one could not possible leave out any. But I guess I eventually had to pick out my favourites of which ADDICTION was one of them. The song is a peculiar one. It’s somewhere between a cheesy love song blended with an OASIS like ambience. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing! After all it’s a very innovative concept and especially the different instruments really made it sound like something new. Vocal harmonies were good and it sounded like a sort of acapella group. The best part were the lines “a man’s addiction don’t leave his mind/ a man’s addiction is more loyal than his wife!” Now if that isn’twitty then I don’t know what is! The next song in line was MONEY. Of course being a huge PINK FLYOD fan, its obvious that the first mention of the term money would remind me of their song called MONEY and therefore anything matching up to that would be rather unlikely. But Harsha’s take in the song is a very unique one. Sound effects as usual had a very dextrous handling. Patches used were scratchy and fitted very well along with the idea of the song. Harsha’s half-shrill half-scratchy voice just has the right texture and a flavour that cannot be disregarded or brushed aside easily. Overall a good song with a simple but definitely very catchy refrain would give it a better appeal than some of his other songs. Some of the other better songs include NOT YET DEAD, NO SAY, LEADER and FEAR.
Harsha Iyer as an artist is just at the beginning of his musical journey and the type of music he has managed to compose and produce at such an early age is a thing of wonder and awe. After listening to his album CURIOUS TOYS one is only expect much greater things. The level of professionalism, talent and expertise in his work is only a taste of much better things to come. He has the determination and the finesse of a true born artist who was born to do one thing and one thing only, which is to play music.
CURIOUS TOYS as an album has songs that are based in many different genres and have been interwoven quite flawless into the identity of Harsha Iyer. You cannot guess which song belongs where, and perhaps that is the real enigma of his music and therefore makes his music quite extraordinary and worth listening too.
Fuzail Siddiqi is currently a student of Maulana Azad College, Kolkata. He believes that life is too short to be the best at one particular thing and hence he has tried his hand at all instruments such as Guitar, keyboard and is at this moment trying to learn the mouth organ. He had been a guitarist for Kolkata based band FreeFall for two years after embarking on solo acoustic performances and has performed at all reputed colleges in Kolkata. He listens to anything and everything but eventually comes back to the likes of Pink Floyd, Mr. Big, Led Zeppelin and others. Singing is something that comes pretty naturally to him, and he can spend hours on end playing and composing songs on his beloved acoustic. Currently he is in the process of writing acoustic country songs and is looking forward to joining a new band in the next few weeks.
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