Delhi native Anirudh Varma is a pianist, composer, producer, and the frontman of the self-titled Anirudh Varma Collective. Unlike other musical troupes, this Collective is quite ambitious in its scope as Varma claims to have collaborated with over 100 different vocalists and instrumentalists.
This is evident in the Collective’s latest venture, a 10-track album called Homecoming. Each track featured a diverse set of artists, complete with orchestral buildups and neo-classical vocal harmonies. Varma’s own atmospherically-rich work with the keys serves as the recurring theme in every song.
Homecoming doesn’t seem to be crafted for the average indiepop listener with a taste for simple compositions and small duration. You need to have a larger attention span to fully enjoy this album as each track clocks at an average of six or seven minutes.
If one is into works of fusion such as Coke Studio originals, then Homecoming should definitely be on your playlist. On the surface, many of the songs might similar on first play but as you hear between the lines, there’s something new for every listener.
It is quite a risk to drop such an ensemble-driven album as the current listenerbase of classical-fusion music in India is quite transient. But Varma and his musicians still take the risk and craft a splendid album that’s bound to garner the attention of niche listeners if not everyone.
It will be a Herculean task to point out any one track as the standout from the album as each one complements each other (and it is advisable to listen to the songs in chronological order). However, the closing track (also titled Homecoming) can be a standout for many. The song kicks off with an ambient start that transcends to an interlude of multiple voices, adding to a heavenly outro.
This outro doesn’t just close the album but also seems like a hint towards a more optimistic and musically-rich future for Varma and his collective. It’ll be interesting to see what the pianist’s follow-up album would be but till then, keep on listening and re-listening to Homecoming.
Verdict: Varma brings out a musical “Justice League” of his own with a multitude of talented guests.