Delhi-based trio Teesri Duniya alumnus Udbhav is rising to be one of the most prominent artists in the city’s independent scene right now. Last year, with his album YATI, he had proven his lyrical and vocal prowess along with a unique sense of creativity.
Initially, laypersons were quick to term Udbhav (and his Teesri Duniya peers) under the ambient of “hip-hop”. But Udbhav is much more than just one label. Just take his latest EP Milansaar for instance, which plays out as a fresh mishmash of Hindi-pop with both retro and new-wave undertones.
The four-track EP is intended to emulate the psyche of a person who has passed over the everyday trials and tribulations of life and is now willing to be friendlier with the world. In this context, each of the four songs seem to be more upbeat than the industrial rock-inspired offerings from YATI.
The first track is Vaayu Mein, a melodramatic proclamation of the protagonist entering a new phase of life, conquering the demons of the past. The overall production is heavy on loud percussion and is bound to remind one of the vintage mythological shows like Ramayana and Mahabharata which relied on such music.
Then, there is the titular track Milansaar which is weirdly reminiscent of a peppy song from a Govinda movie. An instantly groovy tune sets the background for Udbhav’s typical phased-out vocals. The subject matter is the protagonist wooing his new lover, showering her with playful compliments. Such notions of romance are prevalent in the Hindi pop/experimental scene but none can be as creative as Udbhav’s descriptive lyrics.
That’s another recurring and memorable trope in Udbhav’s discography so far. While others go for the typical Urdu/Punjabi-inspired linguistics for songs on love and life, Udbhav goes for pure Urdu/Hindi/Sanskrit phrases to make his lyrics reach a new level of musical literature. It’s okay if you don’t interpret the meaning of his lyrics on a first listen. You will be bound to revisit the song enough to get through the meaning and maybe polish your Hindi vocabulary too in the process.
Following Milansaar is the track Sangam, another love track that serves as a good polar opposite. While Milansaar was fun-filled and peppy, Sangam takes on a more spiritual and soothing take. Featured artist Sitarsnub’s strings and Rashim Anand’s harmonious vocals add to the overall comforting vibe of the song. True to the nature of his other releases, Udbhav intends Sangam to carry multiple meanings. While some can interpret it as the union of two lovers, others can also have an almost-Sufi take on it, equating Sangam as the pure bond that the protagonist shares with his god.
The final track is Machla which is high on the feel-good funk vibes. As discussed earlier, Machla evokes the escapist themes of the EP as the protagonist starts falling in love with himself throughout its duration. Maybe, somewhere down the line, all we need to have is some hope for ourselves. Machla’s energy is a perfect contrast from Sangam’s calming ambiance.
Hence, with four tracks alone, Udbhav proves his creative diversity. Each song sounds distinct from the other. While Vaayu Mein has a dramatic chorus, Milansaar has no hook. While Sangam is about a union with a special someone, Machla is about the union with oneself. Hence, Udbhav doesn’t succumb to monotony and crafts a diverse EP that should be in your playlists if you are looking for something fresh.
Verdict: Diverse. Majestic. Calming. And several other moods in between.