I loved the music of Indian Ocean when I was studying in India. A couple of years later, I thought that their sound was one-dimensional, and I became an Indian Ocean atheist. Turns out, I didn’t really understand much of their music then. I’ve come around once again.

There is much more to their music than meets the ear(?). I saw a documentary recently, Leaving Home: The Life And Music of Indian Ocean. See if you can find a copy online, or wait for a screening near you. It is a simply made documentary. Their story isn’t fascinating either. But hearing them explain their thought process behind each song is a treat. None of the members are ustads, but when they play together, they create music that one instantly connects to (unlike that group of genuises, Remember Shakti)

This one statistic should put Indian Ocean in perspective: After playing together for 19 years, they have released 30 songs. Not albums, songs. The time spent in the creative process is a critical factor in making music multi-layered: It is why A.R. Rahman’s music always has much to be discovered, and why Himesh Reshammiya’s creations can be understood wholly in one fleeting listen. You may disagree that A.R. Rahman’s music is special, but you have to agree that it has many layers which you discover in subsequent hearings. (However, you may not disagree that Himesh’s music is mostly rubbish)


A nice piece in Mint on the group.