Koushik: Out My Window
Stones Throw

Out My Window, the official debut by Canadian-bred Koushik Ghosh (Dundas, Ontario to be exact), carves out an inviting space despite the fact that its decades-spanning blend of ‘60s-styled folk, prog synths, and dusty hip-hop beats feels rather unassuming in tone, even offhand. While that throwaway vibe is reinforced by song titles like “Coolin” and “Forest Loop,” Koushik's music charms despite its modest character. A major reason for that is his ethereal singing (particularly serenading on the dreamy ballad “Ifoundyou” and “Out My Window”), which is lighter-than-air in that classic Garfunkel mode. Complementing that are mellow, SP-303-constructed jams that weave beats, strings, guitars, flutes, harpsichords, mellotrons, Moog samples, and bass lines into crisp backings.

Given the manner of construction, it doesn't surprise that the songs sometimes sound like multiple songs bundled into arresting wholes. “Be With,” for example, is, on the one hand, a gentle singer-songwriter exercise of acoustic guitars, flute, and breathy vocals, and on the other a dusty groove of subtly funky bass lines and laid-back beats. The patchwork style is most evident on “In a Green Space” where the slow drift of his vocal line, soul-jazz groove, and funk bass line converge despite originating from entirely different locales. Koushik would appear to be a bit of an anomaly, considering the Stones Throw roster, but the rambunctious funk groove powering “Bright and Shining” aligns him to label compadre James Pants. Most of Out My Window's songs are refreshingly short and to the point, with Koushik dropping an occasional instrumental interlude in amongst the vocal cuts, including “Welcome,” which neatly pairs a Tarkus-styled synth sample with beat rumble, and “Forest Loop,” which takes the listener on a laid-back flute-and-beats stroll. It's an appealing collection, overall, if one modest in its artistic ambition.

November 2008