Title: Cold Comfort EP
Label: Armadillo Records
Cat Num: AR010
Release date: 21/01/2019
If things have been quiet at Armadillo, come next week it won’t be so, the electronica and downtempo imprint spear-headed by none other than Guy J introduces two music beings whose individual careers make up for being prolific showstoppers in their own realm.
The label surprises us with Spanck made up of duos Shazahn Padamsee, who is no stranger in India with a sparkling theatre/cinema/singer background, her lineage in the performing arts is widely celebrated throughout the country, and the other half boasts of one of the most popular DJ/ Producers of the Indian dance music scene, who also enjoys extensive international presence, and has won many accolades including Best Electronic DJ in the recent past and some, we know well as Ankytrixx.
Their collaborative project brings us a classical 4 tracker debut EP titled – “Cold Comfort”, which is deceptively evocative, even though in the electronic indie/ contemporary soundscape and isn’t as icy as the name can suggest.
With a culling intro section full of chirps and clicks there’s an anticipation borne out of longing to embrace the sunlight diving unashamedly in to the next fare – Talking Heads; a new age platform from Ankytrixx’s stables where Shazahn’s whispering aquatic vocalism comes around full frontal gently buoyed up by soft bass and tight percs, that singe outside a quiet drummy exterior, it’s restrained and introspective as an offering, very unlike his previous outings and show up a variety of ways with sound that one may not have associated with him in his past productions, and overall all of it sticks true to the promise at hand. This one has dollops of melodic quotient, which lifts things up and pushes passion into the proceedings.
Moving on my favourite of them all – Tell Me consolidates Ankit’s compelling love for dance music with brakes on, that slow the heart yet tap your mind along with your feet spirit and Miss Padamsee helps the House of slo-mo trend with her textured and teased vocals pan in and around crooning ‘hey, think you really know me’, against a dithering rhythmic groove that sits beautifully with low, down under bass line, quivering all across its 5 odd minutes. It can even be made into a pop chorus or more, surprisingly there’s some kind of illicit rousing in this one that compliments one and the other, on their electronic journey, leaning into its kicks as if there were a stiff headwind. Claps and hi-hats pass by like lamp posts from a train, locking you in the drama, but shifting your scenes along at the same time.
Finishing up the title track of the package – Cold Comfort, emerges as a gem full of coal collared, blackened beats snaking around her mechanized vocal sample and, speaks in spurts and jerks, waiting and returning with a truncated bass bumps, and electronic pulses encased in a funky groove, all of which heats up even further with Shazahn’s delicate yet strong sing song build up that questions things but only just, as provoking feelings is not overused and it lets the brickwork of Ankytrixx’s arrangement of sounds get relegated to not being a springboard, but more of a smouldering backdrop from where the duos musical tension within their roles in the track, take flight, engaging the listener with quirky programming touches and an adventurous uplifting sway.
Slowed down electronic music has the danger of being boring for me, but this is simmering, understated, sometimes bursting with a crescendo, that never comes, harks out to potential and lust for more. This is Armadillo’s take on showcasing watery slow music and a compilation of tracks that are an exemplary introduction to the duo!!