A Tale Of Emotional Catharsis, Mumbai Duo Gouri & Aksha’s Soulful New EP ‘Sum of Parts’

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Working with other people in a team can often be a daunting process- particularly when you are representatives of a creative community. Our art is known to bear a reflection of our experiences while holding a mirror to the very core of our being. Without surprise, it takes deep-rooted passion and patience to overlook our differences when coming together to create something of value. 

Mumbai-based duo, Gouri and Aksha, in their recent EP called ‘Sum of parts’- bring forth a harmonic rendition of four songs that perfectly encapsulate the coming together of their distinct musical identities. As the title suggests, Sum of Parts directly resonates with the cathartic songwriting process that is practiced by the two musicians. 

Talking about how despite the contrast their styles mutually complement each other, Gouri explains, “We both have our own tastes and preferences when it comes to the music we listen to with some overlapping. And when we write together, all those influences come together into something completely new.” 

The music grows in riptides from one song to another while you completely immerse yourself in the effusive tunes. Aksha’s dramatic lyrics in Mona Lisa Smile- the first song in the EP lead you to the front row seats of a local play while Gouri’s profound jazz chords leave you mesmerized. 

“We both sort of worked on putting it together and it sounds very different from our individual styles,” they add further emphasizing the Sum of Parts.

Commenting upon the various other songs in the collection, they suggest that all the songs are but a result of their emotional catharsis since they wanted the songs to truly reflect what their sound is at the moment. 

In contrast,  ‘Call me by your name’ titled after the film by the same name, was written because the movie had an overpowering effect on the duo. Owning the status of being their favorite song from the list, Gouri and Aksha explain that, similar to the charged nature of the film, this song too, left them under a spell. 

“Whenever we played it live, we were completely immersed in the experience of it and totally forgot where we were.” 

Besides the breathtaking lyrics, all the music contained in the EP was initially an amalgamation of rough piano and voice renditions that the two performed in front of audiences. It was only in 2020, following the lockdown, when both Aksha and Gouri felt the urge to redefine their work into something more dimensional. 

Apart from working remotely, the two made use of only DIY equipment they could find lying around their home.

“When we decided to release an EP, sometime during 2020 lockdown, we started defining the songs a bit more and worked on producing them – remotely. Through the process we realized we like layering vocals and adding minimal production elements – everything was DIY, even the vocals were recorded at home,” they explain. 

Finally, after two long years of hard work, what we hear today is certainly a serendipitous mix of Gouri and Aksha’s artistic output, which reminds us that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.