Nostalgia is a powerful drug. The world right now is a cornucopia of contemporary high-tech music, films and visual art, yet a lot of us, especially from the creative class, find ourselves pulled to the 80s which is still described as the best era ever. The most loved pop artists of our time like The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Doja Cat and Dua Lipa have all been known to bring the disco sounds of the 80s back to the industry in their massively popular tracks. Recent films like Noah Baumbach's White Noise and Luca Gudagnino's Bones And All are also shot in that era along with a series of traditional and AI visual artists experimenting with the retro, vintage, neo-noir and sci-fi iconography of the 80s.
Exploring the music of the same era, Indian producer and songwriter Debo Sanyal's synth-pop project, Dreamhour is also widely loved for its nostalgic electronic sounds. His latest album, Now That We Are Here with the New York-based, New Retrowave Records will be released on January 13. It features Dokodoko on the vocals, Anuj Gurung on the guitar and Abe on the adlibs with artwork by Anusha Menon.
Dreamhour has been in the making since 2012 when a then-17-year-old Sanyal started releasing a string of synth-centric demos , followed by collaborations including the song Dead V with Swedish producer, Nightcall, and a handful of songs with German cinematic music producer, Christian Baczyk, some of which have been placed in tv spots like Die Goldene Kamera (Germany) and Kiralik Ask (Turkey).
The artist has since released an EP The Unfinished Story of the UnknownBand (2016), and 2 full-length albums called VLLNS (2018) and PROPSTVR (2020). Dreamhour also released 3 new singles this year alone. His discography is an ode to the nostalgia of the 80s through his technicolour synth sounds and vibrant retro artwork, especially with the conceptual Indian vampire cult from his debut album cover.
Dreamhour's upcoming juicy, 11-track album is a bappiwave-meets-baroqueopera-meets-bollywood black metal album that explores the concept of 'now' and how it is connected to our memories of the past. In this album, words like 'now' and 'yesterday' do not necessarily refer to points in time, but rather places one could be. We travel to these places through mediums such as sound, smell, and scene.
The album opener, It's A Song, speaks to the dream of finding the perfect melody, existing outside of the constraints of time, raising questions of whether it even exists at all.
Other tracks, like A Long Night, delve into the idea that we are all bound by the past, but must move forward into the present. After all, that's where the cream is.
Yesterday Three offers a more optimistic perspective, reminding us of the mediums that connect us to our memories of a time long gone. This track was inspired by Sanyal's faint yet colourful memory of his late father holding him on his lap in a room with the TV on, playing 90s Indian shows with the smell in jasmine incense drifting from the other room.
Have Mercy, although a dancefloor-friendly track, takes a darker turn, exploring the suffering that we often inflict on others in the present.
Pulp Motel is about a motel. You go there once and come back a changed person. For better or worse? You decide.
The instrumentals on the album are aural movie scenes where the artist invites us to interpret our meaning.
I am a Zillennial but I'm obsessed with the 80s. My kind worships Kavinsky and finds itself right at home in the dreamscapes of Stranger Things' science fiction and Drive's neo-noir thriller. It's an affectionate audio-visual aesthetic that in an inexplicable effect, stimulates and comforts the deepest part of our psyche.
Dreamhour's album plays right into that connection. It's a gem of production that has already made its way into my all-time favourite homegrown bodies of work. It carries a strong, saturated essence of the 80s, condensed for aural consumption that will transport you to that neon-noir realm right from the first track. Now That We Are Here is the perfect fix if nostalgia is your drug of choice.