Review | Peeping Till It’s Noise2 min read . Updated: 09 Jun 2016, 06:07 PM IST
Raxit Tewari has carved out a niche for himself with his carefully crafted beats
It’s 30 September 2012, and a few hundred indie music fans have congregated at Mumbai’s Sitara Studios for the third edition of Control Alt Delete. Dance punk trio Blek have just finished. The floor is slick with sweat as Raxit Tewari—better known as the frontman of visionary rock band Sky Rabbit—takes the stage, armed with only a laptop and guitar.
It’s a strange setting for the live debut of his new solo electronica act, Your Chin. His minimalist beats and melancholic synth loops provide no outlet for the amped up energy in the room. The audience wants to jump, to dance, but Tewari’s music is more suited to the rooftop than the dance floor. Feet shuffle, eyes look around, confused. Tewari just smiles and plays on. An uninterested audience is a challenge, not a disappointment. They’ll come around eventually.
They did. Four years and two EPs later, Your Chin is one of Indian electronica’s more successful outliers. On 11 May, he released his third EP, titled Peeping Till It’s Noise, which has four minimalist and carefully crafted tracks. It features all the Your Chin signature elements—Tewari’s lackadaisical drawl, his inscrutable lyrics, the simple, lush guitar lines and synth loops that evoke all the magic of a starlit sky. Fighting The Sumo kicks things off with a simple, repetitive melody tapped out on a MIDI controller, before the beats and guitar kick in. Hawk’s keyboard intro, groovy percussion and looped “heys" are a little more ominous, befitting a song about drowning in heartbreak. Shine explores a darker, more bass-heavy sound as Tewari ruminates on the loneliness of the race to the top. Ballad Skit’s laid-back pace and surreal imagery (“words like sweat beads") evoke the liminal space between wakefulness and dreams.
On Peeping Till It’s Noise, Tewari makes the subtle yet significant shift from a rock songwriter who uses electronic elements to an electronica composer who still remembers his rock roots. His songwriting has matured as he grows more comfortable and bold with this new sonic palette. This confidence is also reflected in his vocals, which are more front and centre in this EP. His oblique lyrics still hint rather than tell, but it’s obvious that Tewari is now more comfortable letting his listeners get a peek into his inner world.
We should be grateful for that, because it’s a world full of little wonders and curiosities, tinged with, but never overwhelmed by, melancholia. To step into that world is one of the best antidotes I know of to the jaded cynicism of our modern lives.