You read it here first. We had to invent a new genre name, Deep Pop, for Shilpa Ananth’s collaboration with ARKTKT, a Brooklyn-based producer. What’s so special that we had to create words to describe this mind-bending remix? It fuses Contemporary Afro with Dance and House music. So it is indubitably still Pop but with heavy, surreal, melancholic tonalities. No, it’s not Dark Pop because Shilpa is not an Emo artist. Au contraire, this woman pulls herself out of her own existential pondering and offers a sense of resolution to whoever is listening to Align 2.0. This record is a supreme example of new-age sensibilities in the current music industry.
The opening visual that displays the running hourglass offers a crucial clue to Align 2.0′s essence. “It’s the story of a woman who’s succeeded in breaking the routine and is transported to a parallel universe where she is amazed and excited at the sudden color and chaos, though it quickly turns into a nightmare when she realizes that a world with no time isn’t any better than a world that abides by it,” shares Shilpa Ananth for Blue Rhymez Entertainment. The feeling of being held back by a rigid, black-and-white world is augmented by the complex scenery comprised by Shilpa and the two dancers around her. The monochromatic color scheme, the makeup, Shilpa’s fashion choice, and the circle in the background, bring a heavy tinge of the 1920s’ silent movies. Sophistication and art are the foundational pillars of Align 2.0 the music video.
“Listening to the clock tick to the beat of my heart/ Wishing I could make my life reflect my art/ I pray to find my way” – soulfully sings Shilpa. You can give a listen to the original track HERE to get an accurate sense of her curiously pop-colored but Indian-rooted vocal style. It’s what makes this artist not just stand out but elevate her brand to a stratospheric level. Enough to get her own Wiki page, to be the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Women’s Fund for Media, Music, and Theater, and to get a grant from the 2020 Fall Grantee of the Café Royal Cultural Foundation. Headed straight for the major leagues. We see you Shilpa!
As the song progresses, we note another sonic peculiarity. The electro-synth carries the weight of a house track. The smooth drums render Align 2.0 a very club-like composition. But the rhythm leans towards Contemporary Afro. This opulent blend of genres is precisely why we titled Shilpa Ananth as THE mind-blowing combination of Ambient music and Avant-Pop. We gotta shout out ARKTKT, the creative genius behind the remix. You sir, did a phenomenal job. You encapsulated Shilpa’s authenticity while giving it a more commercial oomph. Bravo!
In case you needed some help understanding the golden scene in the music video, we got you covered. Directly from the source herself: “She breaks the hourglass, the source of her imbalance, and makes her own gold world where everyone can live together in peace – not by following time, but by following nature.” Woah! If there’s one artist in this world able to create a sense of space in the audience’s mind within seconds, it’s Shilpa Ananth.
“Do I wait for the planets to align/ Do I wait for some sign/ Do I make peace to never find/ Do I really know the one within my mind” – a simple, 4-line hook of imperial pragmatism. If you’re to memorize something out of Align 2.0, this is IT. Safe to say the ARKTKT-Shilpa Ananth collaboration is vastly richer than the usual sped-up soul record with added claps and drums. This is almost a new creation in its own right. We say almost because well, we love the original too.
In conclusion, Align 2.0 constitutes a sort of ode to human existentialism, to understanding the fusion between the things we control and the things we have to flow with in order to overcome. Acoustically, it flaunts serious production that is anchored in a genre-bending musicality.
Song Credits: Shilpa Ananth – Performer, Vocalist, Songwriter; Jarred Barnes (ARKTKT) – Music Producer, Mix and Mastering Engineer; Andrew Moore (Drew Of the Drew)– Music Producer, Bassist.
Written by Mariana Berdianu
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