If the true mark of an experimental musician is their ability to be unpredictable, there is no better experimental artist in the independent music scene than Disco Puppet. Since the time he started his journey into the world of electronica in 2016, every work released by Shoumik Biswas, the man behind Disco Puppet, is uniquely differentiated in an increasingly homogenising industry. Whether it is the garbled fuzziness of Princess This or the melancholic folksiness of Aranyer Dinratri, the landscape of Shoumik’s talent is boundless.
On May 3, 2020, in the midst of a nationwide lockdown that has lasted for over a month, Disco Puppet released his latest EP “Thoughts to Melt To”. A departure from his usual works, this EP is a darker sound that leans heavily towards the drum heavy sound of the 80s. Disco Puppet is one of Shoumik’s many music projects, although in recent years it is the one he has given most attention to. The effortlessness with which Shoumik combines drum samples with electronic instruments, makes evident his experience as a genre-defying musician.
The lockdown has driven many of us crazy, ridden with anxiety, depression and other demons that we chose to ignore but that caught up with us in the state of solitude we find ourselves in. Shoumik is no different, except that he found it in himself to channel the melancholia into the EP, produced at his home studio. As with the voices in one’s head, the EP constantly swings between sounds of jovial nature and depths of melancholic nostalgia.
The first song in the EP, ‘Peace Lily Parody’ is a perfect prelude to the sometimes intense, often nostalgic journey that you are about to embark on. Quite literally it feels like you’re standing at the beginning of a path in your imagination and the melody is the sound of your footsteps as you walk deeper into the labyrinth. Here once again Shoumik shows his ease in working with melodic percussion set to the sound of drums. The next track in the EP, ‘Don’t be Sad, The Boogie Man’s back’, sounds like a song right out of an 80s alternative album with its dead beat vocals set to a simple drum pattern. While it sounds like a simple track to process, the recreation of such an ambience with a home studio is a feat reflective of how far Shoumik has come on his musical journey.
In a Red Bull interview from 2014, when asked about his relationship with electronic music, he reflected that it wasn’t always great but somewhere along the way they became great friends. Glad are we about that given the unique sound that the friendship has produced over the last few years. ‘Nosty Boy’, a song accompanied by a video, and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ are masterpieces of the EP. Marrying different universes that seemingly co-exist in the artistic world of Disco Puppet, these two songs are perfect companions for the swinging pendulum of living in a lockdown. They go effortlessly from the hum drum of monotony reflected in almost mechanical samples to moments marked by absolutely euphoric drumming.
The last song on the EP, ‘Temporary Paradise’, showcases the EP’s true sound – a deep and unsettling anxiety stemming from being by oneself, which we as a collective, have learnt to live with. Even in composing a melancholic symphony, Shoumik brings about the essence of beauty. This essence of beauty that permeates across Shoumik’s work is what keeps us going back to the artist. Any piece of art, including music, is impactful if it reveals more of itself every time you interact with it. ‘Thoughts to Melt To’ does that, revealing to you with each listen, the many layers of thoughtfulness that have gone into composing it.