“Prog” is a difficult genre to define, mainly because you put King Crimson, Brian Eno, Steven Wilson and Opeth altogether in it. It took me years, but I eventually translated it to mean ‘unpredictable’. Every prog song I have loved and remembered has thrived on the element of surprise. Musicality is played with; even the most seriously stricken riffs are marinated in their own amusement. You don’t get good prog unless the musician is willing to breach established boundaries and not bother to establish new ones.
This band, hailing from Pune, seems to have understood the art of such imbalance. The song takes on an asymmetrical, almost choral quality. Words such as “Ek ehsaas/ jab hum mile/Yaadon ke saath/Jab hum chale” are placed against a sheath of technically-driven, bass-heavy instrumentality. The sound gives itself to scrutiny rather than remaining within the charm-driven chords that such lyrics usually tend to be content with. At one point, the sound descends into an ominous bend, which is certainly not the first melodic flavour to be traditionally matched with words revealing love-lorn deprivation.
Qafilaa is clearly a band with a painstakingly fleshed out vision. While inspiration might have struck out of the blue, the band has taken the time to hew it into the idiosyncratic sound-sculpture it is. For anyone who likes music that keeps growing out of itself, this is a welcome addition to the indie repertoire.