Jaipur-based musician Nitesh Jhurani, who goes by Owlist has a taste for quirk. But then he spoons in a few heaps of unassuming beat work, and comes up with an album you can recline into, all without risking melodic boredom.
Amoeba was forged in the repressive frustrations of the 2020 lockdown. As the only creative and psychological outlet at hand, music served to vocalize Nitesh’s frustrations, albeit in a very pleasing register. Almost every track, especially ‘Cartoons’, ‘Wild Cabbage’ and ‘Loving You’ is imbued with a kind of muted musical sunshine—a dialled-down but ever-present smudge of upliftment that keeps you jigging.
When it comes to actual music-making, Nitesh took the leash off himself and played around with everything he could. Some songs were birthed by the DAW alone, while for a few others he brought in the big guns and made space for hardware.
Of course, some songs stand out more than others. In ‘Red Sky’, you get an ambitious, throbbing brass resonator that punctuates the electronic hustle of Owlist’s signature beat work. It surprises, intrigues and disappears before you can appreciate it as it deserves—thus compelling a couple of replays.
‘Still’ sounds as it is named. Breezy, lilting and alluring in its calm invitation to immerse yourself. In the same vein, ‘Cascades’ goes into delectable white noise territory, becoming the kind of song that is interesting enough to keep your street’s cacophony away, but not so intrusive that you can’t have your own thoughts while it plays.
Drawing from the lavish, textured history of beat culture, a few tracks (‘Loving You’, ‘Wild Cabbage’, ‘Here I Am’, ‘Moments’) include vocal messages, positing clues as to the artist’s intent and the song’s purpose. In fact, Nitesh poses this album as a tribute and the love letter to the artists he loves, and who have forged the genre he composes within.
An ode to solitary frustrations, as well as the awe the artist feels towards his predecessors, the album sits in a strange thematic place. Nonetheless, it sounds like a lazy swim in warm summer-kissed rivers, easy to give oneself into.
Perhaps the most harmonically consistent of his releases, Amoeba is perfect for the critic as well as the casual enthusiast. Be in by low candlelight with a lover or by oneself with a cup of oolong, the album offers enchanting spice to all your downtime desires.