The Scotsman Sessions #86: Kapil Seshasayee and Edwin McLachlan

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glasgow’s Kapil Seshasayee performs his new perform new single The Item Girl, with his Edinburgh-based producer Edwin McLachlan on drums

Glasgow-based singer and instrumentalist Kapil Seshasayee has quickly established himself as one of the most idiosyncratic new voices in Scottish music, blending elements of alt.rock, jazz and R&B with Indian classical music influences on his 2018 debut album A Sacred Bore.

While his debut was essentially a solo effort for voice, guitar and laptop, which examined India’s caste system, honour killings and Hindu nationalism, forthcoming follow-up album Laal – forming the middle part of his planned Desifuturist trilogy – has been conceived as a band record, so it’s only appropriate that he be joined by his Edinburgh-based producer Edwin Stewart McLachlan on drums for a dynamic socially distanced Scotsman Sessions performance of his new single The Item Girl.

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Seshasayee describes Laal as “a dense narrative weave covering a range of topics such as the conflict in Kashmir, structural misogyny and censorship, so I've been really busy researching and curating the topics each song will cover.”

Kapil Seshasayee and Edwin McLachlan

In particular, Laal shines a spotlight into the darker corners of Bollywood with tracks examining its depictions of Indian history and LGBT characters. The Item Girlconcerns a stock Bollywood character, the token sexualised woman in a non-speaking role.

Musically, Seshasayee has been inspired by the psychedelic R&B sounds of Solange Knowles and D’Angelo. “You can hear these influences in the dense layers of synths and granulated electronic textures in this single,” he says. “I retain the Indian classical influence in my music, however, with a lot of the guitar work displaying ornamentations typical of Carnatic music.

“I've mostly been working on this new record in lockdown, but I've also been carrying out interviews with South Asian artists making interesting work at my culture site desifuturism.com where you can find conversations with award winning novelists, writers for HBO and Grammy Award-winning music producers.”

The Item Girl is out on Loner Music, https://kapilseshasayee.bandcamp.com

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