On his second EP Upsurge, Medddler aka Angad Bhatia, sets the stage with a vivid picture, offering his listeners an irresistible proposition. We’re talking mystical, mythical, fantasy land richness bundled up in what is sure to be a musical experience.
Think of a once-abundant, art and adventure-filled land that lies decaying away into an abyss. That is, until hope is renewed as a tide of change washes over the land. The kind of change that is only ever talked about and prophesised.
“Upsurge is change. Upsurge is augmentation. Upsurge is revolution,” Bhatia states.
If the proposition presented by Bhatia isn’t enough to convince you of the thematic escapade that awaits you on his brand-new EP, then the six tracks on it surely will. Making his return to the scene after a year-long gap, Mumbai-based music producer Angad Bhatia, who now dons the moniker of Medddler offers listeners an expansive, fantasy land-themed sonic experience on the follow-up to his debut EP Jump Alaska.
On Upsurge, a purely instrumental post-progressive, post-metal and rock collection, Bhatia builds a carefully curated, hyper focused narrative of this alternative world, replete with heavy riffs that inspire, and disarming stops that offer a space for reflection. This skilfully crafted push and pull lends itself to the artist’s thought behind the album, riding a wave.
While listening to his work on this EP, it’s important for the listener to remember that this isn’t Medddler’s first rodeo. He’s pretty seasoned as far as the music scene goes; his other projects include his work with the Mumbai-based bands Festacorn (progressive metal) and CandyFloss (electro-synthpop). And while the purpose of his alternative persona as Medddler is to explore the previously unexplored, his experience as Angad Bhatia is discernible on this EP.
On Upsurge, each of the six tracks takes the attempt at exploration seriously.
The first track, ‘Towered and Barren’, is an apt entry to this sonic experience. Dark and mysterious, the opening riffs set the tone. Those push and pulls mentioned above hit pretty early on in this six-minute track. ‘The Sound of Nothing’ picks up where its predecessor leaves us, providing blissful moments of relief. With gentle guitar picking, and a mellow tone, backed by steady rhythm, this one gives listeners the chance to reflect.
That moment doesn’t last too long though, as Medddler immediately pushes us into the story of this myth-fantasy land on Upsurge with the third track, ‘Monet Sees Pollux’. This one is a forceful, heavy tune, laden with moody riffs and intense drum work, perhaps even clocking in as the most intense track on the EP, broken up by a few seconds of the signature pull-back of mellow guitar work.
Following ‘Monet Sees Pollux’ is the suitably named, ‘Nectar’, a melancholic and mellow track that gives way to its successors effortlessly. ‘Bards Bring Rain,’ the fifth track on Upsurge is the track that will make you feel like the adventurous traveller in this story. In a pleasant turn of events, the track crescendos into sober guitar work, a fitting segue into the final track on the EP, ‘Moonlight’.
Arguably the most evocative track on Upsurge, ‘Moonlight’, is a soundscape of textured, moody guitar work using major tones, playing with more pure rock elements. A few minutes in, ‘Moonlight’ also features some synth motifs that elevate the track, giving way to the perfect end.
All six tracks encompassed, Upsurge is an intelligently and intentionally crafted sonic odyssey that rises and falls in all the right places. This musical journey may not be for everyone, but it sure makes for a good story.
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