Jatayu is a jazz-rock quartet from Chennai, India, that weaves together traditional Carnatic music with Jazz, Funk, Rock, and a whole host of perpetually changing styles and influences to push the boundaries of ‘fusion’. Their latest single ‘Restless’ features Harini Iyer on vocals and Praveen Sparsh on mridangam. The track sees the group continuing to develop with a carefully crafted composition that combines subtlety and color with the band’s trademark rhythmic drive and strong sense of groove. A song about self-discovery, introspection and growth, the idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving, developing and expanding.
The group’s virtues are embodied right from the track’s rousing opening, with its mighty mridangam grooves, resonant melodic vocals and exotic sounds, allied to clean guitar strums and kinetic drumming.
A richly textured arrangement that makes effective use of the group’s arsenal of talents ensures that an exotic, other worldly South Asian feel remains throughout, even in the most energetic moments. Despite the featured artists, ‘Restless’ is essentially a highly accomplished ensemble performance.
This richly layered and subtly detailed performance retains the listener’s attention while maintaining the levels of excitement that have come to be associated with Jatayu. It’s fusion with a level of sophisticated intelligence. Regardless of the ever-evolving sonic template, all the elements fit together neatly for an easy listen.
It warms up the senses and allows you to take in the musicality of the entire band. The design of ‘Restless’ is such that the listener is able to visualize the band’s instrumentation very clearly and soak in the experience completely.
Few others possess the dexterity to compose a song of this caliber and make it sound this effortless. At the end of the track, one cannot help but admire the drum jams, featuring the mridangam, along with the smooth vocals that build up to climactic sections. ‘Restless’ will also be a powerful live spectacle, and without doubt will touch many hearts thanks to its cultural richness.
If you’ve listened to any of their previous work, you’ll know that Jatayu has a lot more to them than the fusion label often implies, as they incorporate an absolute deluge of influences. Yes, it’s a type of fusion, but, it’s also an ever-shifting synthesis. ‘Restless’ shows off an immaculately evolved Jatayu. The song takes their musical virtuosity and melts it into a track that’s groovy, smooth and atmospheric at the same time.
“Dancing to your journey of self-discovery,” recites the opening lines, as Jatayu take you by the hand and lead you through the song’s narrative. Throughout the track, Jatayu stun with their dynamic rhythmic and harmonic shapes.
These kinds of musical flourishes are breathtaking and sadly missing in much of popular contemporary music, and shows definitively how musically mature Jatayu’s arranging is. Their highly skilled and unique approach to composition and arrangement is going from strength to strength.
To celebrate the launch of ‘Restless’ on the 15th of December, Jatayu will be embarking on an India tour, performing live across 5 cities in December and January.