Nitish Kulkarni’s new world instrumental album, Listen, is a celebration of life in today’s increasingly globalized world.
Recorded entirely at Berklee College of Music’s international campus in Spain while Nitish was working on his graduate studies, Listen features a myriad of instruments from all around the planet, from the Turkish oud to the Australian didgeridoo, and spanning a wide range of time periods, from the Baroque contrabass lute called the theorbo to modern inventions such as the glissentar. It is the product of a careful blending of modern production with the sounds of ancient, rare, and perhaps, to some, exotic musical instruments.
“The goal of this project was to bring an element of ethnomusicology to contemporary music, and vice versa,” says Kulkarni. This isn’t your traditional “world music” album, nor does it rehash the same stale tropes typical of today’s mainstream music. Instead, it’s a modern pop/rock album meant for people who don’t normally listen to world music. “I really want the listener to have a sense of familiarity and oneness with the different cultures across the planet by the time he or she gets to the end of the record,” the young composer states.
Following the sleeper hit Synesthetic in 2015, Kulkarni envisioned a more ambitious soundscape for his second release. “One of the most special things about this album for me is how many instruments on it are played live,” he explains. Synesthetic was created almost entirely using virtual instruments, with a few exceptions. By contrast, Listen boasts upwards of 15 musicians recorded in Berklee’s state-of-the-art facilities. “It’s one thing to use electronic sounds… but when an actual instrument is in the room, the song takes on a different life.” The result is apparent: Listen has a breath of fresh air rarely heard in electronic music today.
The lead single from the album, titled “All Around You,” will be available on digital music platforms at the end of January 2018. The entire album is due in February.
“Ultimately I came away from the process of making this record not only satisfied, but really proud of what the final product has turned out to be,” Kulkarni reminisces. “It was such an incredible experience working with such talented musicians who bring not only their talents but also their own unique perspectives to my music… Listen has turned out to be everything I could have imagined, plus more.”
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Press release by the artist