Teatime in the City - 2016

Music Review: Tongues in Trees

By Samir Shukla

Sunny Jain is a drummer/dhol player who has led the fabulous 8-piece “dhol & brass" band Red Baarat for several years. On the new recording Parallel he teams with vocalist Samita Sinha and guitarist Grey McMurray to form the experimental music trio Tongues in Trees. Each member brings a unique composition and they combine them into an eclectic sound. The album is a new musical universe of genres gone askew, with Indian percussion, electronica, dream pop, chanting, and jazzy interplay.

There are 11 tracks on Parallel. Highlights include the aptly named song “Hurricane." The song builds tempo and disintegrates into a mélange of noise, lovely and disturbing, then circles around to a meditative end. Jain's pounding drums form the backdrop for Sinha to chant over and McMurray to weave his guitar in and out. Here are some of the highlights.

“Voltage" is dissonant, where the trio spars with each other in improvised bursts. The song channels the Velvet Underground, where imagine if Lou Reed on guitar and Mo Tucker on drums play off and around each other, but in this case it's McMurray on guitar and Jain on drums.

The song “The Day is Respite from what's Only Night" features laughter as vocals, an ode to eccentric music making.

“Love Letter" is quite mood-evoking, musical and lingering. It's a flowing take on an old Sun Ra and His Arkestra tune. It's warm and intimate in its sparseness.

The rest of the tracks add to an intriguing recording.