Mumbai based Shadaab Kadri AKA Riatsu is here with his first full-length album Safe With Me. The album is a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist vocalist Neil Gomes who is the founder of Stitch In Nine and a member of Boombay Djembe Folas. Riatsu has previously released an album called Reminiscence in 2016 and a single called ‘Kumo’ in 2019. Shadaab, who has been earlier been part of Mumbai based metal band Pangea and worked at the popular live venue BlueFrog, had started producing ambient music under the moniker Riatsu in 2016.
The 9 track album follows a theme of continuity which makes it stand out amongst other releases in the country. Safe With Me is a live set, a gapless, continuum of interrelated tracks. Riatsu does an impeccable job at the production of the album, with meticulous layering of sounds that stand out in their own way. The transitions the sounds follow are clear too, often, the background sound slowly taking up the pace and becoming the main sound.
The first track ‘As Far As I Know’ features French trumpeter Erik Truffaz. Gomes and Kadri previously toured with Truffaz in 2017. This track sets the pace for the album, a 10-minute long journey in itself, the trumpet moves to the background of ambient beats and a soft synth in the background. The track is a rollercoaster, the listener can’t anticipate what comes next. The track also sees a delicate melody played on the violin which immediately meets Gomes’ distinct vocals
‘Andhera West’ begins with what seems to be the end of ‘As Far As I Know’, the track begins with a soft beginning of ambient sounds. The morose track merges with Shanti Swing. The track picks up speed midway and flows into ‘Arabian Sea’, ‘Andhera West’ and ‘Shanti Swing’ serve as ultimate buildups to ‘Arabian Sea’. The theme of picking up from the last song and changing midway stays in the last two tracks of the album, ‘Do What You Have To’ and ‘On Your Back’.
Speaking to Rolling Stone India, Gomes said, ‘Just Like A Fool’ is about a person who is convinced about life patterns that are not normal, and sticks to them in spite of being ridiculed or questioned by his/her peers. Being labeled a fool is not always a bad thing. It means you could be right to believe and act the way you want to.
The album is an experience when listened to in one go. It’s safe to say that the album takes the listener to another world. Usually, ambient music fades out in the background while sticking to a particular tone but this album rings differently. It’s hard for the listener to not pay attention to the music. The gaplessness in the album also serves as one stream of thought which sees the transition of various sounds. In the end, the album becomes a culmination of the journeys of individual sounds.
Hear the album below :