At a time when the world came to a standstill in 2020, Anish Sood’s mind was running wild with ideas. Inspired and motivated by the period of contemplation and silence that many found themselves in, the DJ and producer found a new sound for himself.
At home in Goa for weeks on end, Anish felt compelled to make music that took him back to where it all began. The emotional and euphoric soundscapes of progressive trance – how he fell in love with electronic music – danced around his head and through a chance discovery, he found the perfect complement in Indian classical vocals.
After 12 years as one of India’s most successful names in dance music, Anyasa was born out of this yearning to tell new stories via new sounds.
“Anyasa translates from Sanskrit as ‘spontaneous and effortless’ and to me that is how this evolution feels,” says Anish of his new moniker and music identity. “I feel with Anyasa, I have the opportunity to change the narrative and wipe the slate clean,” he adds.
The seed of an idea quickly blossomed into a four-track EP, Gaya. Emotional, euphoric and nostalgic, and written with the intent of taking listeners on a journey, Gaya features powerful vocals, voices he discovered by providence. The EP features Indian classical singers Isheeta Chakravarty, Bawari Basanti, Avneet Khurmi and Amira Gill.
“I heard Isheeta for the first time when I was remixing a track from Anhad & Tanner’s new album and I was blown away by her voice. Avneet and I have been friends for a while and she was one of the first people I reached out to when I started writing Gaya. I discovered Bawari Basanti and Amira through Instagram and Spotify respectively. It’s the contrast between this progressive trance-inspired style and the produced Indian classical vocals that make the EP sound unique,” he added.
“Gaya” seems to be as perfect an unlikely amalgamation as one could hope for. Anish Sood cuts up Trance fragments and fuses them with Indian classical vocals to create shimmering, looping melodies. “Nacho” is but one outstanding example of his skill in blending music and noise in a way that’s ethereal and warm, rather than cool or harsh. The music is full of crevices and depths that will make you come back for more.
The gorgeous and atmospheric soundscapes of “Gaya” showcase 21st century progressive trance music enhanced with classical music. While the songs are composed and the layered melodies are pre planned, they seem to flow so organically that it seems like the music is flowing out from a musical fountain on its own.
With “Gaya”, Anish Sood has shown his mastery of the gentle, elevating groove. The four intricate yet subtle tracks flow along on lazy breaks and rolling percussive patterns, anchored by highly addictive beats. This is first class progressive trance fusion, a hybrid that’s loaded with soul, intelligence and life-affirming vibes. The more you listen to it, the more it seems like the full flowering of an exciting new direction for Anish Sood.
Verdict: An absolute gem.