Jalebee Cartel: Onepointnothing
On the surface, New Delhi’s premier EDM act Jalebee Cartel has tried to present a little something for everyone on their full-length album ‘Onepointnothing’. The Cartel consists of Arjun Vagale (laptop, mixing and scratching), Ashvin Mani Sharma (laptop and synths), Ash Roy (vocals and percussion) and G-force Arjun (bass and backing vocals). Currently they are on a countrywide tour in support of the album, with the band playing a live set as wells as DJ sets.
The band has also produced all of the music themselves, not resorting to the easy route of using samples, fusing the various styles of electro-house, techno and breakbeat into a seamless blend. The opening track “Blue Over Red” leads lazily with a trippy melody and arcane lyrics involving evil wizards and mad-hatters. Next comes the predictable house beat of “Back Up” with a repetitive synth beat. It’s on “Dark Shadows” that things get interesting, with a Daft Punk-ian techno breakbeat that transitions into a David Gilmour-era Pink Floyd-ish moody interlude. It then speeds up again just to change direction once more to return to the opening breakbeat.
On the summery “Beautiful Rising”, pixelated dub-step and flushes of a keyboard riff give it an ambient, chilled out vibe. (The CD jewel case has a link for “all you downloading ba$t@rd$” that points to a “secret” web page, with four free bonus remixes of “Beautiful Rising”.) Back to the album, “Tough Cookie” and “Random Reason” are made up of glitch and cut-up click beats, with hints of trance music. “Mirrors” is anchored by Ash Roy’s smoky, detached vocals that talks of the “unpredictable, untamed, unknown” life that exists beyond the mirror. “Apartment 88” is a surefire club house anthem and brings to mind the time when trance was all the rage. Moving on from trance to a sitar-fuelled “Midnite Madness” that sounds familiar yet is hard to pin down as just another “fusion” experiment. “A Crazy Virus on Akerstraat” and “33 Beyond a Hundred” are pulsating tech-house tracks that could easily find its way on Ellen Allien’s mixing compilations. Finally, “Fade Away” has a trippy sitar-sounding riff ringing through with choppy rhythms to bring the album to an end.
‘Onepointnothing’ feels longer than it needs to be even though there isn’t anything boring and humdrum about the album. There isn’t a definitive stand-out song, but the propulsive beats ensure that the album remains engaging throughout its 12 tracks.