Boundaries only exist if you allow them to exist! Being free is a state of mind and a form of self-expression! Only NOW aka Kush Arora has created a supernatural project called Only Now Presents: Indian Unclassical Vol. 1 that is out now via Bokeh Versions. Over the course of 9 tracks Arora collabos with influential Indian classical musicians including Robin Sukhadia (Tabla), Sheela Bringi (Bansuri), Kamaljeet Ahluwalia (Santoor), and Rajib Karmakar (Sitar) and brings them all into another universe of sound.
This project hits me hard because I love the way Classical Indian music is revisioned with electronic music to manifest something otherworldly. When I hear songs like “Inverted Memories (feat. Rajib Karmakar)” I realize that this record is beyond powerful and full of brilliance. The music I have encountered on Only Now Presents: Indian Unclassical Vol. 1 makes me know anything is possible and the only boundaries that exist are ones we make for ourselves! Then there is the tune “Fires, Bodies, Slow Burn, No Wood (feat. Sheela Bringi)” that I keep in the rotation because it uplifts my state of meditation.
On this unique collaborative encounter the Only Now project and the conventions of Indian classical music are equally transformed, as Bairagi (early morning raga), Brindavani Sarang (afternoon raga), and Malkauns (post-midnight raga) are brought into proximity with assaultive rhythms and sunken soundscapes, making for a formidable collision of disparate modes and disciplines.
From the convulsive Santoor-led dread of ‘Time Suffocation’ through the propulsive Tabla-driven tempos of ‘Slit Ties’ and ‘Cavern Trance’ and on into the sombre Sitar-toned space blues of ‘Inverted Memories’ and ‘Last Gasp’, Only Now mixes craft and prowess with power and scale, moving between dissonant onslaught and luminous abstraction. Here, Arora connects ancestral tradition with relentless contemporary flux, embodying the ever-changing pluralities of history and identity.