Muscat: CrossOVER, a newly formed band, based in Oman and India, recently launched their debut album, Ripples, under the banner of 55DB, which is an independent music company based in India. This was followed by a live performance at the Science City auditorium in Kolkata, India.
The band was formed when Soumya Das Gupta, living in Muscat for the last 23 years, teamed up with Subrata Bhattacharya, who visits Muscat regularly.
They decided to produce an album that would showcase a confluence of musical styles from all over the world. They decided to include Indian classical and folk songs along with blues, jazz, rock and flamenco, infused with strains of music from the desert.
Soumya, an architect by profession, plays the guitar and has a music studio at his home in Muscat where he records his compositions. He is the son of legendary Bengali composer, Sudhin Das Gupta and has been playing in studios since his school days, as well as in India. Subrata travels around the globe playing tabla with notable Indian classical musicians as well as contemporary jazz greats like Kai Eckhardt and Fareed Haque, amongst others.
The basic recordings for all the eight numbers in the album was done at Soumya's home studio in Muscat and then, the album was re-recorded, mixed and mastered in studios in India.
Predominantly instrumental in nature, there is a lot of orchestral arrangements in the numbers involving Indian instruments like the sitar, sarod, flute, tabla and other percussions along with western instruments like the piano, guitar, bass, drums, interspersed with the desert instrument Rabab, the Arabic – Flamenco tradition of hand claps and traditional folk songs from the Rajasthan desert.
The first number of the album is called Four and some more – it is a composition by Subrata which is based on 9 beats and 8 beats, finally culminating in an Arabic – Flamenco style handclapping in 9 beats with a flamenco guitar passage.
The second number of the album is called Step Out – this is composed by Soumya and is based on an introverted soul, who is out of step with the world at large (the number starts on 11 beats), who decides to step out from his shell (the number moves on to 12 beats at this point) and begins to discover the wonders of the world.
The third number is called Within. Composed by Subrata, it strives to bring out emotions from within.
The fourth number, called Conversations, composed by Soumya, is loosely based on the Indian raga Yaman and signifies a laid back discussion session in the evening between friends.
Each of the instruments personifies a character in this composition. The fifth number, called Full Circle, is about how life comes back to a full circle. The sixth number, called Sands of Time, composed by Soumya, is set in the deserts of Rajasthan. The seventh number, called Wild West is set in the wastelands of America and the last number is called Party Time.