MD Pallavi & Andi Otto first crossed paths on a theatre stage in India ten years ago. They started collaborating instantly and in 2016 MD Pallavi's mesmerizing vocals for the downtempo raga Bangalore Whispers warmed hearts and ears. Their musical relationship flourished with artistic residencies in Bangalore and Hamburg, their respective hometowns, and a concert tour in Japan. The collaborative track Six made ears turn again on Andi’s album Bow Wave (Multi Culti 2019). And now, years later, the fruits of this artistic endeavour are fully formed here on Songs for Broken Ships - the debut album of the duo.
The album presents an interwoven pop-aesthetic vision of the two artists with their contrasting musical backgrounds. It ranges from organically woven folktronica to cut-up disco tracks and acoustic ballads. Reminiscent of, but not akin to Nicola Cruz, Beach House or Four Tet’s early productions the music is experimental but focused on the listener and their experience.
MD Pallavi is a singer, actress, filmmaker and performer from Bangalore, South-India, where she trained in Hindustani music and poetry since childhood. On Songs for Broken Ships, poems in her native tongue Kannada*, one of India's many languages, are performed over Andi’s alluring production, translating the stories into musical narratives. The poems address topics that are as timeless as the music itself. Social equality is touched upon in Bayalu (written by Bontadevi in the 12th century). Artistic struggles - communicated on An Unwritten Word (Gangadhar Chittala, 1865) - are almost prophetic and the surreal, dreamlike scenario of Clockshop (KS Narasimhaswamy,1958) brings you further inside the sonic journey.
Andi Otto is a composer, cellist and DJ based in Hamburg, Germany, He is known for his idiosyncratic and unconventional dance music productions on labels such as Multi Culti, Shika Shika and Pingipung (which he co-runs and curates). For this collaborative experience his dubbed out basslines gently interlock with the 7/4 and 5/4 beats to create a backbone for the instrumentation and expressive vocal timbres of MD Pallavi. His sound design combines graceful acoustic recordings, juxtaposed against modern drum machines, computer generated noise and vintage synthesizers.
*The LP comes with a text sheet containing all Kannada lyrics - which have their own vocabulary and script - together with the phonetic transcription and English translation.