On his new album, Abstractions in Meera, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, P.M. Tummala (who has also produced the latest works from Allen Moore and Chloe Yu Nong Lin), explores identity and false memories through gorgeous, whirring soundscapes.
Using a sampler, synthesizers, vibraphone, electric piano, and tape, Tumulla leans on influences of the past – his inspirations not limited to Indian visual artists and architects such as Raza, Gaitonde and Doshi, as well as the Hindustani, Carnatic, and Tollywood/Bollywood.
Following his debut LP, last year’s Brindavan Mon Amour, with Abstractions in Meerasees, Tummala harnesses childhood nostalgia, adding sonic embellishments of the modern day, and the result is one of the finest experimental releases of 2021.
Opening piece, Meera Post-Awakening, builds with Tummala mixing Indian influences with hip-hop and soul, as the soundscapes slowly emerge like the sun peeking through storm clouds.
It’s Still Around Us follows and is, quite frankly, like floating in the ether. Infusing dub with filmic soundscapes, Tummala takes psychedelia to new outer worlds during this cinematic fever dream.
Underpinned by lo-fi drones, Nighttime Modern explores the sound worlds of Tummala’s native India. One of album’s shortest compositions, it’s also its centrepiece, permeating all the ideas Tummala sets out to achieve on Abstractions in Meera.
Once again, we find ourselves floating through different orbits on Beginners in Strata. Still weaving the thread of Indian-inspired dreamscapes, Tummala goes down the rabbit hole of spiritual jazz and alongside brooding drones, this piece captures an emotional wave like no other on the album.
Which leaves us with the final composition, Kumari – a sun-dappled cinematic sprawl that reflects off the ocean face. The storm clouds which seemed present at the beginning of the album, now a distant memory.
There’s no one combining the kind of sounds and influences that Tummala does. Firstly with Brindavan Mon Amour, now with Abstractions in Meera, this is beyond the meditative ideology which has become widespread within the world of experimentation.
Abstractions in Meera is a spiritual journey. One where we can escape the rigours of everyday life and the stresses involved with it. Tummala captures something truly freeing with these recordings. More freeing than anything else released this year, in fact.
Abstractions in Meera is out now via Monastral. Purchase from Bandcamp.