At war with the best
7 October 2010
It was high time that Cassini’s Division released its first album. Ringside View is deliciously sinful. By Mathures Paul
By the time Rumble came on, I realised that some nights are darker than others. Cassini’s Division’s debut album is made of the stuff filling the darkest nooks of the human spirit, infused with uplifting moments of creative exuberance. Ringside View has none of the pleasing homogeneity that spoils most efforts by Indian bands, and it certainly puts the nearly 10-year-old band outside its comfort zone.
Ritoban Das, Sukanti Roy, Rahul Guha Roy and John Noel Bose are more of modern storytellers who like to use old-fashioned narrative styles. It’s perhaps the group’s old-style rock school approach that makes the 10-track release from Saregama this year’s best Indian album.
Years of live performances give the group an edge over others. Ringside View doesn’t have a natural beginning and sounds more like a deliciously delirious 2am rehearsal that well highlights the twisted dreams of four young uncompromising musicians, making one appreciate the deliberate attempt to shy away from conformist production values, for which, perhaps, credit goes to executive producer Simon Henderson (who has worked with Alan Parsons Project and Depeche Mode).
Also noteworthy is the relaxed attitude of the band as it moves with ease from one dark song to another, before deliberately relaxing the pace with Stay but soon it’s back to top gear with Satyr9 and Rumble. It’s tedious to bracket the group’s music which is a sinfully heady mix of buttoned-up rock and hip-hop laced with anthemic lyrics.
The only mean thing I can write about the album is the hellishly dark mood that pervades Ringside View and the cover is no exception. Unlike most groups, Rahul Guha Roy doesn’t slice-and-dice his lyrics to accommodate rock ’n’ roll clichés. He believes in taking Glowroom and its companions to dizzying heights, offering listeners little (if any) scope to compare Cassini’s Division with most contemporary groups.
Bravery (Satyr9) and fear (Night Without End) live side by side on Ringside View, making the album send out a strong message ~ each day rock music is enjoying a rebirth.