Dreamhour’s Album “Now That We Are Here” Is A Trip Further Down ‘Bappiwave’ Lane
Dreamhour’s music is what I would call “LSD-infused spacey beats”. The Siliguri-based musician (whose real name is Debo Sanyal by the way, and you may know him from a certain electronica duo called Dokodoko) has been trying to infuse synth-pop with retro Bollywood sounds into his sonic palette, something he terms “Bappiwave” (a befitting moniker really). He has released two full-length features VLLNS and Propstvr, an EP titled The Unfinished Story of the Unknown Band, and multiple singles since he started in 2016.
He is back with his 3rd full-length mixtape Now That We Are Here, a retro-wave compilation of 11 ditties that he wrote, recorded, mixed, and produced independently. He has a rather quirky term to describe the record’s sound this time around too – Bappiwave Nostalgicore Black Avant-Garde Synth-Pop. The album features Dokodoko’s other half Kritika Nepal in three of the songs – “A Long Night”, “She’s Everything” and “Own Tonight”.
This new album marries upbeat elements from synth-wave and pop, sampled dialogues from Bollywood oldies (“Pulp Motel”), glitchy embellishments, booming bass beats, subtle guitar embellishments (by Anuj Gurung), and modulated vocals to create effervescent soundscapes that take you back to the halcyon days of bygone times. It’s a whole lot of nostalgia really, and any millennial listening to the record might just find a part of themselves in it. “Everything is fine in yesterday/ Stop the time, rewind to the day when/ Everything is fine in yesterday” from the sixth track pretty much sums up the core ethos of the mixtape.
“It’s a Song” establishes the record – dancey and upbeat in its demeanour, with broken beats, swirling synth lines, and glitchy elements cushioning Sanyal’s modulated vocals. He approaches the record with aplomb and this reflects in his production chops as he works his way through multiple song structures, chord progressions, and production techniques giving birth to a synesthetic mixtape that tingles your senses. It is a wholesome sensory experience.
“Have Mercy’s” dreamy textures bewitch you into a trance but it also has a certain darkness to it – both in the soundscape and lyrics. Sanyal doesn’t shy away from baring his anguish towards life.
The record traverses through a freeway of emotions – there’s joy, there’s sadness, there’s anger, and sometimes it makes you want to dance like nobody’s watching (“It’s a Song”, “Light”, “Own Tonight”, “Small Town Vengeance” and “Rajdoot”) and sometimes it is sultry and sensual (“She’s Everything”). An ode to simpler times, Dreamhour’s Now That We Are Here is a reminder to make the most of the present as time once lost is impossible to get back. All I could picture while the album blared in my earphones at night was escaping somewhere far away without any fixed destination with the wind caressing my face as I speed down the highway in my convertible.
“Pulp Motel’s” synth riff in the intro enmeshes an “oriental” feel with 70s disco elements in the soundscape. Modulated synth, pitch shifts, and a reversed vocal section (THAT iconic line from Gunda) give more depth to the record’s first instrumental track. “Yesterday Three” (Everything is Fine) is upbeat, hopeful, and sprightly invoking a warm, fuzzy feeling.
In “Medicines”, Sanyal experiments with vocal harmonisations and layering resulting in choir-like vocal sections that craft a dreamy vibe. The synth lines sound like they would find a home in a Tame Impala track. “A Long Night” is slowed-down and down-tempo cushioning fluid, watery vocals in a dark, sentimental soundscape.
Dreamhour’s Now That We Are Here is a sonic representation of desiderium, invoking a deep longing for the days that got lost in the waves of time. Yet at the same time, it is hopeful and leaves a saccharine after-taste as you reminisce the past while coming to terms with the here and now. The record will make you feel the feeling of nostalgia in a way you wouldn’t expect but would want to. It promises that.