Riding high and mighty on the wave of genre-bending musicians from Mumbai, Azamaan Hoyvoy brings us his unique creative spirit on his debut EP E L F L. After graduating from The True School of Music, Mumbai, the singer-songwriter has steadily honed his sound and built his recognition through memorable collaborations. His collaboration with Nate08 on ‘No Love For The Cyborg’ earlier this year off his DRMZ EP caused quite a stir in the scene. The first glimpses of Azamaan’s sound began to take shape in the form of his moody textured vocals over some jazzy keys.
Given his singular style and voice, the release of E L F L was always inevitable. Clocking in at just under 18 minutes, it sounds like the embodiment of a great vacation. The tropical instrumentation all over with funky basslines, gossamer synths and jazzy keys result in an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. However, in complete contrast, Azamaan’s unique and quirky vocal delivery on each track puts the album on a whole other pedestal. Between the chaotic hi-hats and unpredictable beats of ‘Intro Jam’ and ‘Outro Jam’ lies an album about one thing: the paradox of love.
Beneath the veneer of funky goodness and tropical vibes, rest socially awkward and lovesick ethos guiding the tracks. ‘Taking Off’ with Harsh Reality features fleeting bass drops that feel like quicksand under the classy and glistening piano arpeggios. Over the supple instrumentation and fluid beats are Azamaan’s velvety vocals with all his bizarre vocal inflections. The track itself reads like a two-parter – a classic love song about past love followed by him dealing with loneliness like his own personal therapy. The bouncy melody and groovy bassline of ‘Someone Hold Her Hand’ betrays the heartfelt and incredibly personal lyrics. The track reads like him giving up on a long-distance relationship and instead focussing on finding someone to replace himself to help his significant other out by ‘holding her hand’.
‘Free Like’ featuring late keyboard virtuoso Karan Joseph is the stand out track with its swinging guitar riffs and a catchy congo-bassline duo that you cannot resist tap dancing to. The subtle synth leads and precise arrangement of every element of the instrumentation and the vocals come together to create an incredibly enjoyable funk-jazz flavour of indie-pop. Apart from the slightly generic title track, Azamaan’s debut album is a cohesive and well-knit series of heartfelt songs with production that boasts all the quirk of a Wes Anderson film while retaining the sophistication of A Night at the Opera.
To write off Azamaan’s voice as just another jazzy diddy in the growing ocean of singular singer-songwriters in our nation is to gloss over the subtlety and honesty of his creative expression. The precisely laid out sequence of beats and the layers of fluidic synths carefully stacked up one on top of another is the mark of a true auteur who understands the nuances of both music production as well as the emotions that he purports to express. Azamaan’s unique blend of big beat, synthpop, post-rock and honest lyricism makes him the easiest Waldo to spot in our current soundscape.
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