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aswekeepsearching in four songs

As the band that made “Hindi post-rock” a thing that actually exists, aswekeepsearching are not strangers to being talked about. There are enough interviews and analyses to lay bare their intentions and obsessions. One does not think of them without drawing analogies to sound paintings that provide perfect background for common and uncommon human emotions to play themselves out.

Four songs do not, by any means, encapsulate what they mean to say. It does no justice to motley of joy-grief-confusion-wonder their music dives into. But it does offer a peephole into why their sound is able to magnetize crowds into a maddened ardour when they play.

Ativa: This one adheres to common conceptions of post-rock: sheaths of shimmering sound and meditative phases that are not repetitive but rather comforting in their predictable beauty. The song embodies grief, longing and fear of loss, but the most relatable sentiments in existence are given new appeal with simple, frank lyrical confession. The need for the beloved is upfront and unashamed, and so is the quiet dexterity of the instrumental produce. Not many chords are played, not much variation is trifled with – and yet the listener is compelled to effortless enchantment.

We Sound Like Strangers: That there is beauty in separation sounds like a hideous cliche at this point. In the lives of those without a compulsively artistic bend, separation is a poisonous thing, the harbinger of dread and despair.

It becomes, in their album Khwaab, a testament to suppressed rage. The piece is charming, stimulating the listener with an intuitively placed wordless story. You get swept by the raucous beauty of its movement, before being rammed into a wall of angry voices, demanding to know why they are trapped in the desolate confines of self-made unhappiness.

Sleep Awake:Zia was supposed to be the more accessible album, created to be a closer reflection of popular tastes (without, of course, tarnishing the band’s creative identity). It does so with characteristic grace, but songs like this one remain baffling, even to those who keep returning to it.

It is easy to indulge in the musical craft, call it a basket of well-woven sounds and move on. However, a story no one is quite sure of keeps emerging, and much like the muted whisper of the tabla underlying the song, you are beckoned by a larger worldview. It barely reveals itself to your curiosity, leaving you to create mindcastles that fill in the gaps.

There You Are: Melancholy meets frenzy, and turns into a sound heavier than the band is known for. It isn’t chaos or destruction, but a gentle storm that most of us would be familiar with. It rages but within limits of aesthetic allure. You are not led to anger. You are led into beauty with a few rough edges. There is every chance you will come to this for a few minutes of catharsis from your daily turmoil.


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