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Only Now Presents: Indian Unclassical Vol. 1

by Only Now

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50% of the proceeds for this release will go to Manav Sadhna for their work strengthening underpriveleged communities in Ahmedabad:


With the first volume in the new ‘Indian Unclassical’ series Kush Arora presents a lineal reorientation for the Only Now project, centred on heavyweight experimentation and traditional Indian heritage. Across a nine-track collaborative suite of fractured rhythms, consuming drone, and poignant echoes of virtuosic Indian music, Arora produces a singular work where time-honoured roots and pioneering forms combine to form an imposing, foreboding environment.

The process for the ‘Indian Unclassical’ series began with a request for solo instrumental pieces from influential Indian classical musicians including Robin Sukhadia (Tabla), Sheela Bringi (Bansuri), Kamaljeet Ahluwalia (Santoor) and Rajib Karmakar (Sitar). Alongside co-producer / curator Sukhadia (aka Tablapusher) – an essential player in the Indian classical community – Arora then reshaped these contributions, subverting classical diurnal and nocturnal ragas with tidal waves of noise and resonance.

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.

For Arora the first installment of the ‘Indian Unclassical’ series is the product of an enduring interest in experimenting with traditional Indian music, as some of his earliest material incorporated industrial interpretations of Punjabi music, with many of these nascent productions supported by long-time collaborator Sukhadia.

Reflecting the continuing relationship Arora has with both the music and preservation of his homeland, a percentage of proceeds from the first volume of ‘Indian Unclassical’ will be sent to Manav Sadhna in Ahmedabad, India, a non-profit organization supporting underprivileged communities through programs in education, nutrition, health, youth, women’s empowerment, senior care and more.

The inception of the ‘Indian Unclassical’ series illustrates a sustained evolution in the output of the Only Now project, following a string of acclaimed self-released projects, as well as collaborations with Bay Area affiliate Orogen and doom metal guitarist Peter Arensdorf (King Woman / Beneath The Ruins). Arora has made recent appearances on Discrepant, Polaar, and Infinite Machine, and has an upcoming contribution set for release on Nyege Nyege Tapes sublabel Hakuna Kulala.


released October 25, 2021

Production, Music, Mixing: Kush Arora
Executive Producer and Curation: Robin Sukhadia

Recorded between 2020-2021 throughout Los Angeles and Berkeley, California.

Tabla: Robin Sukhadia

Bansuri: Sheela Bringi

Santoor: Kamaljeet Ahluwalia

Sitar: Rajib Karmakar

The rest: Kush Arora

Mixed and Mastered at Atomic Garden, Oakland, California
by Jack Shirley and Kush Arora

Photo by Tashi Tobgyal
Copyright The Indian Express (P) Limited.

Santoor tracks: Raga Bairagi (early morning raga): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bairagi_(raga)_

Sitar tracks: Raga Malkauns (just past midnight raga): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malkauns

Bansuri tracks: Raga Brindavani Sarang (afternoon raga): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brindavani_Sarang

Tabla: in teentaal (16 beat cycle)


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Music by Kush Arora

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