Sarish Ahmed exercises a lyrical prowess and passion for music on this album Philosophy. His approach to creativity moves smoothly between the deeply personal and that which is mildly theatrical or characterful. Love and Pain begins the process and surrounds the listener with a delicate, trip-hop-like ambiance, within which the artist’s unique leading voice makes itself known both melodically and rhythmically (during those rap verses).
Why does love hurt more than pain?
Hell and Heaven follows the opener and kicks off with a brilliant vocal snippet addressing the fact that most mainstream music deals with the topic of love, so if it’s so influential – shouldn’t there be an influx of love after listening to it? The song that follows has a slight bounce and a meandering bass-line that craft a retro, enjoyable soundscape around you. By now Sarish Ahmed’s voice is familiar, a thread of consistency – his ideas have you hanging on so many lines within. The flow is fairly relentless and a single listen doesn’t quite cover it. There’s also a vaguely muffled sound to the vocal quality, which gives the project a vintage sound but also withdraws a dash of clarity and again encourages more than just the one run-through. This track is an early highlight.
Elsewhere on the album, titles that intrigue and inspire hope continue to pour through, as do vastly eclectic, creative soundscapes, and endless layers of ideas. No More War changes the energy and offers a surprisingly spacious ambiance and a performance loaded with intensity. My Venn follows and redirects you even more, feeling like a dark, unfinished moment of reflection. On a couple of occasions throughout the playlist I was reminded of the early Faithless days, this meeting of atmospheric music and thoughtful, softly spoken lyricism.
A flutter of jazz comes through once or twice on the album, the hip hop rhythm stays fairly down-tempo and fuses well with the organic sound of retro jazz. Keep In Mind is a smooth example, the way the vocal delivery is toyed around with keeps things fresh and interesting. My Plan Interlude follows and offers a haunting, soft-rock aura. The lyrics are incredibly poetic and provocative, though that lo-fi effect keeps things feeling quite distant and raw. Always eclecticism works in favour of holding tight to your attention and keeping you calm and involved.
My Plan afterwards sees the idea evolving and becoming something much heavier and inherently honest. You feel closer to the songwriter now, an important moment that bridges the gap between audience and artist. This song is superb and grows more powerful as it progresses. The spacious backdrop keeps your focus on those words, and they’re worth hanging on to. Another highlight. Light follows and introduces a welcomed touch of dark reggae with a strangely hypnotic backdrop of rain falling.
Sarish Ahmed is an incredibly thoughtful artist. That is to say – he thinks deeply, he ponders the world and his place within it, and so for the listener who lives in a similar way, these songs reach out and connect; offering to say what you couldn’t find the words for. Offering to shout it all out on your behalf. That’s what so many of us search for in music.
Inner Beauty brings an element of laid back nonchalance after the depth and consideration that preceded it. There’s a little more to the song than the opening bars suggest, as is often the way with the Philosophy collection. Can I (Interlude) brings through a welcomed touch of piano and whispered melody alongside of a Tupac-like level of rhythm and emotional depth. Every line attempts to recapture any wandering minds and provoke a certain type of thought and awareness – a valuable addition to any modern hip hop project as the genre continues to grow.
Do Mind Us Fool sees a hint of the bizarre step up to the stage in an unsettling yet intriguing way. YUP follows and cleverly reignites colour and vibrancy, the movement is great and the song grows to be one of the most memorable on the album. Then things come to a close with Everybody and Nobody – a last grasp at opening the mind of the listener, a spacious and classic feeling track from a now recognisable artist – an artist who sincerely sticks to his wits and his own take on creativity throughout this project.
Philosophy offers a whole lot of what you’d hope for from that title. Listen and get thinking, let it generate those ideas we rarely take the time to entertain. Download the album via iTunes. Find & follow Sarish Ahmed on Instagram & Soundcloud.