There’s a lot of common misconceptions about the nation and culture of India. Those ignorant may perceive it as a third world nation, one devoid of a national alternative music scene and a country that is lagging behind it’s western counterparts in terms of bustling music scenes, However, such delusional beliefs are nothing more than uneducated fallacies. India is in fact host to a thriving and blossoming alternative scene, one that champions authentic skill and innovation. Proving such a fact spectacularly are the post rock quartet Aswekeepsearching.
With their origins tracing back to 2014, the collective have effortlessly and inadvertently become the face of Asian post rock in recent years due to the emotion, ambition and cinematic scope featured in their previous releases; 2017’s Zia and 2015’s Khwaab respectively. However, even with these full lengths being vivid and pictorial explorations of ambitious post rock dynamics, Aswekeepsearching have truly exceed all exceptions and hopes with their third full length Rooh.
A loose concept record detailing the notion of growth in oneself and in nature, Rooh is vivid cinematic exercise in tantalising emotion thats’s executed via a range of masterfully handled dynamics. ‘Chasing Light’ instantly pacifies the listener with it’s swathing and ethereal synths before introducing delicate instrumentation and elysian vocals that form a transfixing soundscape that quells any inner negativity the listener may be holding.
Onwards, Rooh continues to be a consecutively therapeutic listen, with the sentimental and compassionate Hindu vocals of Uddipan Sarmah gently washing over the listening like a late summer’s breeze. As the album lavishly flows forth from the harmonic strings and otherworldly aura of ‘Green And Blue’ to the dusking dreamscape that is ‘Aas Paas’, Rooh see’s Aswekeepsearching tighten their focus whilst broadening their horizons, encapsulating the luscious scenery of their native surroundings in authentic sonic form.
Whilst the post rock scene may be a saturated from acts from the American and Nordic territories, what enables Aswekeepsearching to transcend such superabundance is their incorporation of spellbinding Indian culture. Much like it’s respective predecessors, Rooh combines traditional and ethereal post rock dynamics with Indian sensibilities and instrumentation. What transpires is a record that is utterly inspirational in scope and one that animates the ancient scenery and culture of their respective heartlands.
Take the awe-inspiring ‘A Night In Zottegem’ for example. A track that entertains the natural aura of a warm summer’s night where the stars above gleam spiritually, the track’s combination of delicate western instruments and traditional Indian orchestration is simply breathtaking, with the movement swelling with reserved joy prior to bursting with celestial radiance. Or for another example, there’s the textured synths of ‘Eneke Najaaba’, with it’s sensitive instrumentation enjoys the thought of lamenting the dusk and the passing of a beautiful sunset. The entire record sits within this vein of atmosphere, with Rooh amalgamating the ethereal auras that’s found within the post rock genre with the virtuous spiritualism of their ancient culture in order to create a multilayered and evolving soundscape that is utterly arresting and therapeutic.
In all, Rooh is a delicate, magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful exercise in therapeutic post rock. Aswekeepsearching’s third release is a record that speaks a universal language, a record that will transport it’s listeners to an exotic and tranquil location free of the adversity that plagues our current world. It’s a record that bridges languages and cultures, one that shall invoke the same sense of emotion and language to all listeners regardless of their dialect or cultural background. With Rooh, Aswekeepsearching prove they are well on their way to becoming Asia's answer to Sigur Rós.
Rooh Is Out Now Via Self Release