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Lapgan samples forgotten South Asian gems for sophomore album 'History'

The album is a collaboration with Nishant Mittal aka 'Digging in India'

  • Arun Ramanathan
  • 8 August 2023
Lapgan samples forgotten South Asian gems for sophomore album 'History'

Chicago-based artist Lapgan is set to captivate the club music scene once again with his latest and most ambitious album, "History," released in a few weeks on 25 August.

As was evident from his debut album ‘Duniya Kya Hai’, Lapgan continues to incorporate samples from his highly knowledgeable spectrum of South Asian musical heritage — ‘History’ sees him weave forgotten sounds from Bollywood and Lollywood soundtracks, Tamil film music, Marathi chants, and flute-heavy Bengali religious music.

Collaborating with Delhi-based music archivist and DJ Nishant Mittal, also known as @digginginindia, Lapgan brings a wealth of rare vinyl from across South Asia into the mix through deep digging and crafty arrangements.

Released by Veena Sounds, the record label founded by Himanshu "Heems" Suri, Lapgan's ‘History’ finds its place alongside Suri's exploration of South Asian arts and culture. Suri is known for his work with Das Racist and Swet Shop Boys and has diversified the Veena label to include clothing and natural Ayurvedic products, aiming to be a holistic platform for artistic expression.

The album cover is a vibrant testament to Lapgan's familial heritage. A captivating collage of Lapgan's favourite historical sites in Delhi, cleverly superimposed with a photo of his grandfather, pays tribute to the artist's roots. In his dual role as archivist and artist, Lapgan breathes new life into forgotten Indian music with "History," allowing every chant and archetypal strum of the sarod to shine.

‘History’ opens with ‘Ek, Do, Teen’ a track that showcases Lapgan's meticulous approach in fusing disparate sonic fragments into a cohesive groove. The song stands tall alongside influential works like Madlib's ‘Beat Konducta in India’' and ‘Bombay The Hard Way: Guns, Cars, and Sitar’ by Dan the Automator and Anandji-Kalyanji.

Whilst most of the LP is constructed around Lapgan's beat-making skills, he takes a moment to sidestep hip-hop aesthetics with tracks like ‘Stolen Heirlooms & The Queen's Debts’ and ‘Intermission Dance’.

Listening to 'History' as a holistic work lets us see Lapgan express himself beyond his typical boundaries and into more mysterious and meditative spaces.

Check out the video premiere for 'Oh Pyar' below.

Lapgan ‘History’ is out on 25 August on Veera Sounds. Pre-order here.

Arun Ramanathan is Mixmag Asia’s Director. Follow him on Instagram.

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