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Rafiki - Anand Mahal EP

Join one of India’s electronic music leading lights Rafiki as he takes you on a sonic tour of his Mumbai home, Anand Mahal (Happy Palace), released 31st May on Permanent Vacation.

Nestled in the heart of Bandra’s vibrant chaos, Anand Mahal stands as Rafiki’s serene haven—an oasis of calm. This cherished space is where his latest EP was born, a testament to unforgettable musical connections. The echoes of jams, after-hours sessions, and the laughter of friends fill its rooms, creating a mosaic of memories with both global and local artists. These are friends and fellow creatives, drawn to Mumbai by the events organised by Rafiki’s decade and a half-old agency, Krunk, and its offshoot label, Krunk Kulture.

Press the buzzer at 17B. Rafiki welcomes you into his sanctuary with open arms. This vibrant space inspires boundless creativity in all who enter. Here, Rafiki not only writes music but also finds a haven for self-reflection and care. 17B features ambient layers designed to evoke a feeling of weightlessness and expansiveness, transporting listeners to another realm. In this place, time seems to pause, allowing a journey through the infinite reaches of space offering endless possibilities of where Rafiki will take you next on the tour. 

Next up is Black Smoke, released as a single on May 8th. In this track, retro and futuristic synths blend with dream pop sensibilities, enveloping the listener as day shifts into night. As Tara Lily steps into view, her voice—sweet, soulful, yet tinged with melancholy—sings directly to you, "It’s a long way from here to home / I watch you go through the black smoke." Tara Lily describes the song as an exploration of addiction, love, and ruthlessness in Mumbai. Rafiki adds, "Tara Lily really connected with Mumbai and the essence of the song during her last visit. She was eager to collaborate, and her lyrics perfectly represent a sense of life in Mumbai which is often crazy, hazy and everything in between.”

Khulle Darwaze (meaning Open Doors) blends hypnotic beats with an infectious groove, drawing you into a rooftop oasis above the bustling city. This track captivates with vibrant flowers, lively birds, and lush greenery, embodying limitless possibilities with its spacey synths and uplifting chords. Rafiki reflects, Khulle Darwaze symbolises the lifelong friendships, memories and opportunities welcomed through my open doors."

Smoke & Mirrors, the fourth track, transports you into Rafiki’s musical den which is surrounded by a haze of smoke and mirrors. Relax on a cushion or the couch while playful & trippy melodies encircle you. This sound sanctuary fosters an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration, where each note is fuelled by the dance of melodies amidst shimmering reflections. Rafiki shares, “My Music Den is filled with beautiful music & memories, sparking endless creativity and profound self-reflection.”

In the final track, Lo-Fi Dreams, Rafiki envelops you in a space filled with hypnotic rhythms and deep house basslines. The track progresses through gritty acid synthesisers and looping melodies, evoking nostalgia and a sense of hope, positivity, and dreams. The lo-fi percussion and effects lend a vintage warmth, enveloping listeners in a hazy, immersive sonic landscape. Rafiki reflects, “'Lo-Fi Dreams' conjures a nostalgic and joyful place amid the crackle of vinyl and distant city sounds and a sanctuary for love, reflection, music and evolution.”

Your sonic tour of Anand Mahal is over, but it won’t be long before you ring Rafiki’s buzzer again. Who knows who’ll be there to greet you next time, to jam with Mumbai’s very own electronic music guru?

‘Black Smoke’ buy link:

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