Slough by Pulpy Shilpy

By Audio Pervert - 4/03/2019

"Fractal fantasies, rainy road trips and mid-life epiphanies brought to life..." says Gowri Jayakumar a.k.a Pulpy Shilpy about her new album, titled Slough, recently released independently in India. The album contains four contrasting compositions which tells the story of formation, trails and tribulation experienced by the artist."This glittoral, stimulating psychedelic journey of catharsis, sonic experiments and sinless grid-work collide with provocative wordplay and storytelling" states Gowri in her press release, which outlines the experience behind the sound, music and lyrics. Slough is an example of a do-it-yourself spirit, breaking a hiatus, with the artist putting out a definitive record, sounding out her transition from an acoustic singer-songwriter to a composer and producer. The four tunes titled 'Voyeur, Love Machine, Parrachapora and Lilbit' creates a vibrant narrative, rich in lyricism, chugging beats and often conjuring up a peculiar sonic mish-mash. No particular genre here! Gowri Jayakumar as an artist, has come a long way from her heydays as 'Kozmi Cow' and 'Jazz Ballads' leaving behind traditional roles and striving for independence and maturity. We recently spoke to her about Slough and the story behind the album...

What is the new album and direction all about?
Is called Slough - the old skin shed by snakes and insects, and It's a shedding of old for hopefully something fresh and more alive. Although I'd been toying with Ableton for a while, it's last year that I thought I should learn something proper. Sat down in February, and went through youtube tutorials and whatever other free resources i could lay my hands on, just to understand a few aspects of sound. This EP is a product of those learnings. The first step into many more tunes in the future...

What was the writing process of the new EP like?
It was me trying to make everything i was listening to. It became hectic because I was not organized in the beginning. If i learnt to make a sound, or if i heard a song that I loved, i would try and do it all at the same time. Also, I had songs, stories in mind, and I was stubborn to make them electronic. I was listening to a lot of glitch (tipper ott, opiuo), experimental (ametsub, aoki takamasa, frank bretschneider) and disco, and most of my references didn't have vocals. So i was confused on how to create space for vocals. I made a mess at one point. I had to chuck a million projects, and filter, and rewrite. The lyrics were easy. Songwriting was simple. Designing sounds, creating space, cleaning mud, these things killed me. My friend Ryan Kardam, who wrote a song with me (lil bit) and his inputs played a huge role in the manifestation of these tracks. He was like a pair of fresh ears when I was totally lost. Often, I was losing the flow and story just because I had crammed too much. At some point though, after I let it rest a bit, I decided it was done. Any more touching will destroy it. And for about a month or two I hated everything. And then I loved it again. Maybe it was just relief that i can move on, but I could see the story, the journey, and while some sounds weren't perfect, they conveyed the emotion, and that was important for me.

What happened to the acoustic singer songwriter?
Nothing... There's so much to learn in production, and i've been listening to so much electronic music, that I guess I'm honeymooning with the freshness of it all. Eventually, I hope I can inject some life into my acoustic work, and blend the two, or just produce them well. I think studying sounds right now in the form of electronic music is only going to help me in producing whatever else later.

Tell us a bit about the collaborators?
Ryan Kardam - He is a DJ and producer currently in Goa, but was in Poona the same time I was here while composing this. He also does commercial work, but he hasn't yet released his own tracks. He helped me understand the importance of mixing while composing (though it was too late by the time i understood this). Lil Bit started as a song I was playing around with, glitchy bassy, and then he loves his Psy, so he came in with the total hi energy, second half bit. Ishan Naik -  I have always worked with Ishan Naik from Bombay for my mixes. He is a dear friend and I have worked with him for Run Pussy Run tracks and for commercial work. He understands my weird references and suggestions, and has the patience for it. For this project, he re-edited a bunch of times, because it was new for both of us, and some of the sounds i gave him were ghastly, but he made everything clean and beautiful. Adam Haggar from Mount Olympia Mastering - He is a kickass engineer I found on Struck a deal with him, and he was super-efficient and open and fun to work with. Hiren Kangad - He is an artist from Ahmedabad. I really dig his work - he has made artwork for Run Pussy Run as well. 

These guys are like a team, I like going to them, gives me a sense of stability. I would also like to mention mastering engineer Hozaifa Sayed, who gave me crucial feedback on my mixes, and was also a key pair of fresh ears. He was supposed to master my tracks in the beginning, but was super busy.

What's next? What to expect from Pulpy Shilpy?
So this EP is only 4 songs long, but my live set is building upto a good 45 plus minutes. The live-set in the making has more tunes in the making and I hope to release it by July this year, through my label Orbs Cure Labs... Please ask me questions about OCL and i will tell you gladly! As for my future plans, a lot of label work and another EP. Maybe get better with my PUSH controller, notch up with my mixing skills and more live beat-making. Starting to get a hang of it all!

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