‘Black Box Recovery’ is the eight-minute musical experimentation of Nilotpal Das — a self-taught producer who revels in instrumental and performance-oriented pieces.
Also known as Bios Contrast (an alias he established in 2020), the Kolkata-based sound artist and multi-instrumentalist continues his sonic experimentation to create what he mentions as “music that doesn’t fall under any genre or description.”
Earlier this year, he released ‘Meltwater Pulse’; a conceptual EP that tingles your brain with the sounds of harmonium drones, processed vocals, warm violins and more. The title comes from Das’ concern about acceleration in sea-level rise and the tracks become a sonic expression of the drastic weight of flooding.
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'Black Box Recovery' is a one-off that was conceived during the making of ‘Meltwater Pulse’. “I initially intended to make an album that sounded like this particular track but it took a turn when I started researching Meltwater pulses,” he explains to Mixmag Asia.
Referencing a black box/flight recorder of an aircraft being recovered after a crash, Das aims to showcase the chaotic sounds of the roads, traffic and Indian villages being passed by when travelling via aeroplane or train.
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Das masterfully mashes together traditional and digital elements into this aural journey; “I resampled my Dholak recordings together with a one-hour Bhojpuri DJ mix squeezed to eight minutes. On top of that, I used my vocal recordings, Bluetooth speaker radio, white noise and online text-to-speech.”
With plans on releasing his massive 28-tracker titled ‘Harmonium I’ in August, ‘Black Box Recovery’ is just a taste of the explorative sounds we can expect. The album includes eleven 60-minute performances, a 49-minute performance and an 11-minute performance on the harmonium, plus remodels all recorded in his storeroom studio over the course of two days.
For now, watch the music video for 'Black Box Recovery’ below.
Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.