Songs For Broken Ships

12/05/2023Bangalore's MD Pallavi Joins Forces W/ Hamburg's Andi Otto For Alluring Debut LP On Pingipung

There are moments in life that simply pass us by and others that stay with us forever, glimpses of happiness, more often than not in combination with a song. For instance, I quite vividly remember a moment back in 2016, sitting passenger side in my best friend's Renault Grand Scenic travelling the wooded outskirts of Berlin and streaming a mix on Soundcloud, when a track came on that had us both bedazzled. That track turned out to be "Bangalore Whispers", a first-time collaboration by South Indian singer, actress, filmmaker and performer MD Pallavi and Hamburg-based composer, cellist, DJ and sound artist Andi Otto.

Fast forward to today, as the duo celebrates its return with a striking debut album on Pingipung. From crossing paths on a theatre stage in India some ten years ago to releasing their resounding collaborative whispers and now this: "Songs for Broken Ships" is the title to their shared full-length that sees the two forge a world of sound, deep as an ocean yet light as a feather. As cliché as that may sound, there's nothing ordinary about this ten-track cruise. Combining a wide range of musical styles from "organically woven folktronica to cut-up disco tracks and acoustic ballads" with an underlying pop aesthetic to link "their contrasting musical backgrounds," the two succeed in keeping a majestic fleet of musical vessels afloat, creating wondrous synergy upon synergy.

Andi Otto's boundless auditory curiosity provides fertile breeding ground for his fantastically open-minded productions, while further accentuating MD Pallavi's trance-inducing vocals and evocative stories through dreamlike panoramas. "Trained in Hindustani music and poetry since her childhood" and singing in her "native tongue Kannada," she in turn provides each track with a "fascinating intensity [...] using classical Indian vocal techniques to maximize the expressiveness of her songs."  The result is a breathtaking one-two punch that retains a driving edge, despite its obvious downtempo affinity and borderline esoteric allure. Dancefloor-inspired productions for inquisitive minds and warm hearts. One might even say that "Songs for Broken Ships" has healing faculties. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom