‘Stone Plinth’, the third instalment of ‘Live at True Brew’, begins with a brooding piano motif. ‘Over the stone plinth of an earlier structure stands an ape all ragged and old’, sings Lahore-based artist Shorbanoor. It’s a dark, gothic, and surreal beginning to a song, like you’re reading from an Edgar Allen Poe novel. Shorbanoor repeatedly returns to this image of an ape standing over ruins, and the composition reflects the primal destruction. There are numerous digressions into psychadelic breakdowns, often signposted by Noor’s ‘UH!’
In these sections the drums fracture, the synth joins the mix but gurgles and wails. Then, all of a sudden, that piano motif returns again, and it’s as if the track dusts itself off, stands up in a suit and straightens itself out, fixing the tie that went askew. This is the sonic equivalent of Jekyll and Hyde, two different temperaments clashing, the earlier structure being overwritten by the new.
There’s a sense of opera and melodrama here too that’s fun to watch – just watch Jamal Rahman pick up a book and do his best Rodin impression – and gives the whole performance an air of musical theatre.
Shorbanoor’s songwriting is often surreal and deeply intimate. With the backing of a band, he brings this weird vision and turns it into something larger than life. Check it out below.