Donn Bhat’s third LP Connected came out in September 2016, and created ripples in the electronic circuit. Six months later, it is still on our minds and our playlists. On Connected, Bhat stays true to his style. In fact, the album, in astounding ways, cements the signature Bhat style of music. It sounds like he has finally mastered the genre that he started fiddling with back in 2006 while working on his first album, One Way Circle. Featured in most of the “artists-to-look-out-for” lists since, Donn Bhat has created a big chunk of space for himself in the electronic circuit and Connected ensured that he stay there.
The album is appropriately 7 tracks long, and throughout the 35 minutes, it does not lose the listener even once. With different elements added on each song, every minute is a surprise and keeps the listener hooked. The graph is not steep going from the first song to the seventh, it remains straight and consistent. XXL is the opener, and a good one at that. The sombre intro fades into the echoes of the soft plucks on the guitar and sets a cool tone for the whole album. As the beats start to pick up, enters Toymob. He features on several tracks on Connected, and his voice proves to be a perfect addition to the chill vibe of the album, as it has on their previous collaborations.
The second track features Toymob in a more centre stage kind of a way and shines out as the title track on the album. On The Storm, we are treated to Suhail Yusuf Khan’s sarangi adding more depth to the words. 2000 Years is more fast paced, yet controlled. Bhat takes the mic on this one and talks of the end of the good times. As we progress towards the end of the album, the words become more solemn, more aware of the tragedy of dependence on the ‘connection’ to whatever you interpret it to be, and urge to break the parasitic relationship. This is beautifully manifested on The Beer Was Over, the track where Bhat takes artistic expression to a different level. The frustration in his voice is clear now, as is the beating of the drums. He uses repetition to further evoke this feeling. Desh Bhakti brilliantly lowers the curtains on Connected, and is more human and powerful than any track on the album.
Like any work of art, Connected could be interpreted in several ways. It is romantic and realistic in equal measures, a quality hard to find in an electronic pop album of today. Donn Bhat’s meaningful lyrics and aesthetically pleasing sounds make for a great listen and hit the absolute right spot.
Best Pick of the Album: The Beer Was Over, The Storm