Surfacing: KHUSHI [New Act]

on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Words: Saam Das

Last Autumn, I heard about one of the latest anonymous acts to crop up - KHUSHI. As usual, my reticence with mystery acts stopped me from writing about KHUSHI at the time but the name resonated, as did the music. The name (meaning "happy" in several languages/dialects on the Indian subcontinent) reflects the feeling evoked from listening to the wide-eyed experimental folk.

The veil of mystery is dropping rapidly considering KHUSHI is now playing live gigs - including one this evening at Notting Hill Arts Club in London - so here's a quick KHUSHI 101: it's the moniker of Londoner Kalim Patel, he's managed by Jameela Jamil, backed by a live band, and our pal Tara notes that he's also part of the intriguing Strong Asian Mothers electro outfit.

He's been building hype steadily over the last few months, and I've heard more than the fair share of murmuring that A&Rs have been out in force at his debut live performances. For good reason, of course. There's generally a folk undertone to his work but this is merely the foundation - as seen on the sparkling 'Magpie', where KHUSHI's hypnotic vocals and the rousing brass prove particularly appealing.

The vocal style is reminiscent of Joe Newman's affected Alt-J stylings, while the melancholy of the instrumentation reflects bands like Bon Iver and The National. It's a fearsome set of influences - but one that KHUSHI seems to build on with ease, with tracks like the compelling 'Phantoms' demonstrating the beautifully evocative ability of KHUSHI.

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