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Cracking the musical code

When Aditya Balani’s Jazz notes meet Suhail Yusuf Khan’s sarangi tunes, the result is pure musical bliss. After performing together for years — the duo that goes by the moniker, Adi & Suhail — have released their debut album, Culture Code Landscape

While one is a Rock and Jazz musician, the other is soaked in the traditions of Hindustani Classical music. Yet, Aditya Balani and Suhail Yusuf Khan manage to blend their influences to create a distinctive and soothing sound. Over the years, Balani and Khan have collaborated and have been part of collectives and bands like Incognito (their first band together in 2002), Advaita, Artistes Unlimited, Aditya Balani Group and Suhail Yusuf Khan Project. They have been performing as Adi & Suhail since May 2012. The duo released their debut album, Culture Code Landscape, online, today.

Why the delay?
Quiz them on the reason behind the delay in releasing the album, and Adi explains, “We have been working together on many projects. But, specifically, as a duo we wanted our sound to evolve and take a definite form before we released the music. Composing is a very organic process and we never sat down with a plan to release an album. As we started writing more and more and the songs came alive, we felt it was time to record and release the material.”
Loosely classified as Electro-Folk Rock, Culture Code Landscape gets its Electronic edge from Adi while Suhail, with his sarangi and soulful voice, lends the sound a rustic depth. The album has nine tracks, each exploring different themes like finding your identity, questioning life, love and Sufi expression, etc.

Breaking down the process of composition, Suhail explains that every song in the album was written with a different set of ideas and at times, the theme was discovered after the song was written. “The common ground for both of us was to give priority to the song, treat the song as a bigger entity than the musician inside you and start providing whatever the song demands,” he shares.

Language barrier
And do they feel that when it comes to indie music, Hindi somehow lags behind as compared to its Western counterpart? “When we started out, because film music was in Hindi and so predominant in the market, independent musicians wanted to have their own identity and, in fact, singing in Hindi wasn’t really appreciated in those circles,” Adi informs.

He admits that in recent times, music sung in Hindi and other regional languages is increasingly gaining acceptance in the independent music scene.

Suhail affirms that even the independent music scene is better than before. “The whole indie music scene is almost on the verge of becoming an industry from just a mere scene,” he adds, hinting at dedicated channels and events concentrating mainly on this form of music.

The duo will be playing in the city on May 2 at the Blue Frog, Lower Parel.

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