Bootlegging is probably an artist’s worst nightmare. No one wants their art illegally distributed or sold, as it can severely jeopardize one’s livelihood. But in a culture that thrives on illegal distribution and selling, what happens when things go out of control? Well, in that case, you take matters into your hands. At least that is precisely what Shashwat Bulusu ended up doing with his EP Throwaway. It is available to only those signed up to his private mailing list. The Baroda-based singer-songwriter, producer, and visual artist started releasing a few of his musical creations every one-two years to a selective few listeners, after his stuff got leaked for the first time.
The musician recently came out with his EP Throwaway Vol. 2 that brings forth a whirlwind of emotions along with it. With its soulful electronic and acoustic-influenced melodies, it is a spectacular display of sophisticated musicality. Its overtly personal and sentimental mood is what tugs at your heartstrings and touches you in inexplicable ways.
The five-track EP makes judicious use of lo-fi production techniques, minimal instrumentals, and the artist’s impeccable vocals. ‘Curtain Drop Cry’, the first song on the record, incorporates twinkly synth lines, soft rhythmic strumming on the acoustic guitar, and simple drumming patterns to create a soundscape that feels close to the heart. Whispering sweet secrets in the softest moments of intimacy, the song quickly gains a sense of urgency, almost desperate to scream out its pent-up frustrations for the world to hear.
This is followed by ‘Hymns of Ritual Killings’ that creates a dreamy, shoegaze-y sonic portrait, boasting warm piano lines and heart-wrenching, efflorescent vocals. The song entrances you into its mesmeric fever dream, where you don’t want to come back from because reality is too mundane and painful.
‘Over My Body’ opens with a rumbling drone, overlaid by synth-oriented chordal embellishments. The song is a subtle protest against a world that attempts to break down everything that has the potential to bloom into something beautiful, only if nurtured with care. The slight tone of contempt in the track contrasts with the sparkly guitar harmonics and scintillating sonic ornamentations which weave a minimalistic, yet detailed soundscape.
‘This Ocean’, the only instrumental track of the EP, slowly introduces you to its soundscape with bubbly xylophone phrases layered on top of each other. It unfurls into an array of fluttering melody lines and resonant, low-toned beats to back it all up. Together with a cornet-oriented main melody, the song lives up to its title by recreating a water ripple-like sonic atmosphere. It is reminiscent of warm sunlight falling through the cracks of tree canopies.
The musician ends this chapter of his emotional unveiling with ‘Waltz For Glasgow’. The song seamlessly utilises sonic colours like delay-toned guitars, wistful organs, steady drumming, and the acoustic guitar. The track is the perfect partner for a drunken slow-dance when the world is burning and everybody has left the ballroom with only you left on an empty dance floor.
Bulusu has curated a colourful tonal palette on Throwaway Vol. 2, and used it to paint a brilliant picture that brings out the best of what he has to offer. This is where lies the beauty of this EP—it is not a lot, yet it is everything. The sheer sense of vulnerability and opening up one’s inner universe for the rest of the world to see is not only an act of catharsis for the musician, but also an act of altruism. Many may find a part of themselves between the notes of his music. In today’s trying times, such moments of sheer authenticity are what we live for and Bulusu has truly found a way to reach that vulnerable core of his audience, where the joy of being alive can thrive without any limitations or barriers.
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