TODAY -

You Are The Only One by 15 Lightgrey
(Critically dissecting 4 minutes and 25 seconds of ambience)

Ningombam Captain *

cover art of 'You Are The Only One' by 15 Lightgrey
cover art of 'You Are The Only One' by 15 Lightgrey



"I've got new sounds of freedom...Don't ever give up your dreams..."

Those who are frequented with motivational materials might have an impression that the above lines are an excerpt from lectures of Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins, but the fact is really far from this presumption. These are the lyrics to the song 'You Are The Only One' by the experimental DJ, '15 Lightgrey'.

Being a part of the spectacular and diverse indie music scene of Manipur, 15 Lightgrey stands alone as the only (till date) electronic music project which steps in the domain of ambience. A significant amount of electronic music acts has resurfaced in the scene over the past few years.

But they try their hands only in the style of 'mainstream' hardcore EDM and House music which is often characterized by fast beats, heavy bass drops, twangy chorus and party-themed lyrics in order to grace the dance floors in festival circuits. Considering this fact of limited approach in stylistic pursuits, 15 Lightgrey can be branded 'unique' or in other words 'pioneering', as far as Manipur is concerned.

15 Lightgrey is the brainchild of Tom Maisnam, who happens to be the song-writer/guitarist of the fomerly active indie rock band 'The Dirty Strikes'. He is currently recording as a solo artist professing electronic music, which is the pole opposite of the genre he used to deal in. His music is experimental even from the start, which is rather unusual.

History has shown us the proofs that, musicians kick-starting their career from experimental genres often fail to seek large followings and have low chances of landing in promising record deals. Despite these possible risks, 15 Lightgrey triumphs in gathering a significant amount of devoted listeners over time.

The risks taken by 15 Lightgrey gives us the right time to quote Herman Melville, "It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation". Thus, the latest single 'You Are The Only One' is well-hyped among random listeners and highly appreciated among the indie-savvy circle. The single was released on the 7th of August '17.

'You Are The Only One' is built in the tempo of 120 bpm (which is interestingly the tempo of most of the hit songs around the world) and the time signature is 4/4. The genre can be classified as 'electronic experimental ambience', which is a slight fusion of ambient pop and electronica. The track is 4 minutes and 25 seconds long. It starts with the prominent beats which will survive throughout the song. The type of this particular beat is often used in progressive house music.

Then, exactly after 4 seconds, a steady rotation of electronic percussion comprising of 7 notes will be embedded in between the beats. A very sharp listener will be able to pick out the obscured notes in the background which surfaces exactly at 00:10, which in ascending tone serves as a primary bass of the song. Without this almost unrecognizable filler, the song would have lack sonic depth. The choice of this filler is a clever one. At 00:16, the major percussion enters as electronic snare drums and forms a homogenous mixture with the beats.

A synthesizer riff in the tone of a mellow electric piano will be introduced exactly at 20 seconds into the song. Along with the assigned bass in the background, the aggregate of the introduced sounds will remain as the groove of the track.

The vocals by Tom Maisnam will cue into the groove and deliver the motivational lyrics which has the power to lift the spirit of the listener. The structure of the lyrics is fluid-like as the two verses are seperated by an ambience starting from 1:09 and the lyrics will disintegrate into a chorus of the titular line and vocables.

The chorus has the similar synth sound of the riff but with higher notes and a significant melody. The ambient sound in the middle of the song evokes an unobtrusive quality. The drums will feature a high head chime at 3:08 and starts the outro. The song ending fade away will feature an ethnic vocable 'Heiya Hey'.

The song is tranquil and hypnotic. The trance given out by the constant chanting of the titular line creates the ambient atmosphere of the song. The uses of the textural layers of different sounds is worth appreciating.

Stepping back and digesting the big picture, the song is one of the best contribution in the electronic music scene by a Manipuri recording artist. 15 Lightgrey is currently recording an upcoming full length album, which is entirely a good news to grasp. Let us hope that the more songs to follow will exceed the intrinsic sonic quality of this song.

References: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oFl4GhVK1ik&feature=youtu.be

https://m.soundcloud.com/15lightgrey/you-are-the-only-one






* Ningombam Captain wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 13, 2018.



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