“This is Indro,” Akhil Kodamanchili says, as he introduces the drummer to the audience, “I’ve only just met him, and now I’m going to introduce myself to him.” With that, the 25-year-old guitarist strums his guitar, creates a looping rhythm and begins doing what he does best — improvising on the spot.
Playing a live music set on Tuesday night at The Gallery Cafe in Banjara Hills, Akhil — originally from Hyderabad but now living in Bengaluru — took the crowd on an immersive musical experience, with help from Indrodeep Chatterjee on drums, and each improvised track ranging from an acoustic-folk to a bluesy-jazz sound.
“Improvised music has been the majority of my work for the past two years or so,” Akhil says, “I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, walking the line between composition and improvisation.”
Akhil also brought along his friend Rahul Das, who recited his own poetry as Akhil played (in his own words) a “sad” tune in the background.
The evening was an amalgamation of such moments, with a member of the audience coming on stage to recite a short poem he had written while listening to the music — a few contemporary verses on the food and music at the cafe.
While he knows his music appeals to a “niche” crowd, Akhil’s immersive musical experience has helped him record an album this way. “A drummer and I went to the studio and improvised for an hour straight,” he says, “We just cut out sections that had a certain continuity to it, a certain vibe, and then started composing over that. And that worked out in a very in-the-moment kind of way... without making it very deliberate sounding.”
Indrodeep, who moved to Hyderabad a few months ago and has already started working on improving his music here, summed up the improv musical night well: “It was awesome, it’s always nice playing with people you’ve never met. Improvised music is the best kind.”