Samsara by Hybrid Protokol
Electronic Downbeat from Kolkata
As the name promises, Indian duo Hybrid Protokol mash together their formative musical influences to make a unique transmission they call their own. Formed in 2015, Soumajit Ghosh and Aneesh Basu have released a steady stream of tracks and EPs showcasing this approach, with mixed results (the earlier vocal tracks/songs largely miss the spot while the instrumentals, specifically the ones with clever looping, like Kenebo, manage to strut with more confidence). Citing influences ranging from Chemical Brothers to Luomo and Scuba to Villalobos, they really have covered the full gamut of floor-focused electronic music to date. 2021's Sounds in Place II though hinted at a more downbeat side to their productions, with tracks like Explorations acceding to an Ambient/Chillout calling. New album Samsara also caters to that calling.
Four of the six tracks are around the eight minute mark, and as they build quietly and slowly, the overall mood reflects this. The music doesn't sound particularly 'Indian' (and when I think of Indian-sounding electronic music, I'm meaning the excellent Monsoon Wedding OST) but their use of dubbed vocal monologues adds an Eastern, mystical charm; I particularly like the echoing vocal snippets on Ameyaa and closing track Samsara, perfectly attuned with the descending synths. While regular rhythms remain throughout (tracks like Dhariyan and Ratasili still twitch and writhe, like they just can't escape their dancefloor impulses) this downbeat bent suits them.