Blackstratblues : The Last Analog Generation.

Band

I get less time to practice!“, says guitar virtuoso Warren Mendonsa on his recent fatherhood. However his 10-year old brainchild, Blackstratblues, just added another iconic album to their stellar discography called ‘The Last Analog Generation‘.

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India’s finest rock bands have returned two years post their previous release ‘The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour‘. The album has come at a perfect time for the multitudes of fans wanting new material. Warren says, “I think by the time we recorded this one, the four of us were very comfortable playing together as a unit and as a result it was recorded very organically.” The 8-track album is definitely a stimulating release from the act. It has a very charming 80’s flair to the sound and is seasoned with the pristine musicianship of  Jai Row Kavi on the drums, Adi Mistry on the bass and Beven Fonseca on the keys. Charging through it all is Warren’s signature guitar playing which evokes a different emotion with every song. The album is a very distinct feather in Blackstratblues’ revered cap and it was a conscious effort. Warren says, “There’s no point repeating what we’ve done before.

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The title ‘The Last Analog Generation’ does encapsulate the sound of the entire album. It does numb down the synthetic electronic sounds that floods today’s mainstream music. The album isn’t necessarily drunk in nostalgia, for it does dwell in current themes. The album name came about when Warren and his wife, Uttara, were blessed with their first child. It struck them how different it would be growing up now with the influx of modern technology, social media, music consumption and more. It wouldn’t be anything like growing up in the 80’s. “The difference would be way more than the one between our parents generation and ours“, says Warren. Thus, ‘The Last Analog Generation’.

 

Most of Blackstratblues’ songs are these illustrious rock epics over 5-6 minutes long. Warren mentions how most of the songs are divided into two sections and are written together. They usually start off as guitar loops, home demos or have a pre-existing live version before they enter the studio. The track ‘Mediatrician’ revolves around how the modern mainstream media treats adults as children who are incapable of formulating their own opinions. Warren says, “These days we get mainly opinions and entertainment disguised as news, all designed to get maximum eyeballs and advertising.” It starts out with a sample of his daughter crying with a news debate going on in the background. Warren adds, “She does recognise her voice at the start of Mediatrician and is all smiles whenever that plays.

The track ‘Love Song To The Truth’ features singer/songwriter Tejas Menon. It’s a dreamy track with the words and the melody from Warren championed by Tejas’s soothing vocals. Warren says, “What you hear on the album is his first take, minutes after he first heard the track. It was a pleasure to work with him, and he added heaps of soul to that track.” The track also has an audio snippet from a Joni Mitchell interview that Warren really resonated with. Warren says, “The best music is open to interpretation, and causes the listener to introspect or find a personal connection with the music that could be very different from what the songwriter may have originally imagined.

Having been the guitar player for the legendary rock band, Zero, and with Blackstrablues leaving it’s mark for more than a decade, it’s safe to say Warren has seen it all. “There was a quantum leap in the 2000s with audience acceptance of original music, and it has only grown since then”, says Warren. He fancies acts like Nicholson, Parekh & Singh, Kush Upadhyay and obviously Tejas, from the current indie scene. But with electronic music in the forefront, it does seem that the true craftsmanship of musicians is fading away and rock might not be the hip thing to follow. But Warren believes otherwise, he says, “I don’t really think the popularity of one genre affects another. Both can coexist and influence each other. Rock has been around for quite a few decades and keeps changing with the times, and I’m not fearful for its survival.

Warren

Between promoting the album via shows across India and being a father, Warren is pretty busy and content at the same time. There’s nothing exceptionally new on the horizon. With the legacy that he has, he can take all the breaks he wants. Who knows, maybe we might get another iconic video like for the track ‘Renaissance Mission’ on the previous album? For now, simply forget your blues with their latest gem, ‘The Last Analog Generation’.

 

 

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