Track By Track: Seasonal Affected Beats – 2°
On his most recent release, Delhi-based drummer and musician Tarun Balani has chosen music as his medium to explore the subjects of climate change and mental health, brought together under his aptly named alter-ego Seasonal Affected Beats.
Better known for his work as a jazz drummer, the new project sees him collaborate with Sunhouse Inc. and take his idosyncratic talents to the next level. Throughout the release, Tarun leaves the listener with a message or a lesson to take away; a skill that is instilled within him, honed through his work as a teacher at the city's Global Music Institute, which he also co-founded.
Here he guides us through each track on the release and the inspirations behind them…
Whilst I’ve drawn inspiration from heavy subjects like climate change, mental-health, digital existentialism, etc, unfortunately, we are all living this reality. For me as an artist I truly became the narrative rather than seeking one. I simply had no choice as I felt compelled, and even responsible to depict this through my music and art.
Below is an excerpt from Arundhati Roy’s recent article and she couldn’t have better said what I feel.
"What we need are people who are prepared to be unpopular. Who are prepared to put themselves in danger. Who are prepared to tell the truth. Brave journalists can do that, and they have. Brave lawyers can do that, and they have. And artists – beautiful, brilliant, brave writers, poets, musicians, painters and filmmakers can do that. That beauty is on our side. All of it. We have work to do. And a world to win."
The music of 2° is composed like a suite, with each piece leading into the other and to be considered as separate movements within the suite. Prelude introduces the listener to the sonic landscape of the EP, from spacey and minimal to complex and disorderly – I hope to evoke a feeling of intrigue and leave the listeners wanting more.
Is a track dedicated to my friend Jivraj Singh a.k.a Jiver. This track came about a random jam at my studio, whilst Jiver and I were preparing an interview for RedBull Music. Jiver took on drum duties and I played the synths. The melodies, harmony and the drum groove depict his personality, and our friendship.
Let the Light in feat. Kavya
We often disregard the power of pain and suffering as a pathway for us to discover self-love, self-care and healing. Whether it’s us, or our partner, a friend or a family member, allowing ourselves, and them the room to acknowledge this state of fragility/vulnerability, is where we often fall short.
Through this song/video I am depicting a person who’s suffering, and not in a state of good mental health, together with their partner experiencing the process of healing, self care and recovery.
Prejudice in the form of racism, sexism and casteism continues to reside in our subconscious. It finds place in popular discourse and unfortunately influences both words and actions that come from a position of privilege, entitlement and ignorance.
Dr.Escher, I’ve sampled a passage of powerful words of Dr. B.R Ambedkar. These words, and the ideals they espouse, are timeless, especially in this time when we need to counter these biases and the threat they continue to pose to society.
“So far as the ultimate goal is concerned, I think none of us need have any apprehensions. None of us need have any doubt. Our difficulty is not about the ultimate future. Our difficulty is how to make the heterogeneous mass that we have to-day take a decision in common and march on the way which leads us to unity.” – Dr. B.R Ambedkar
2° (For Naima)
The album is titled 2degrees (and is intended to be a comment on our changing environment, drawing influence from the climate change movement) and my hope is to also portray a different imagined reality (hopefully a positive one) of what the world might look like. The theme song is written “For Naima” my three year old niece, and I wanted this to be a tribute or gift for her. Mostly, to be able to face her when she’s all grown up and a young independent individual, I am sure she will be asking us lots of difficult questions! I want to be able to tell her that I was talking about important issues back in the day too and that I was thinking about her and our collective futures – even through our music and art.