Saahil Bhargava pays tribute to Australian rock band Karnivool
Fresh off his August debut EP, LA-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava released what he dubbed a “tribute” to one of America’s most beloved modern rock bands. Australia. His cover of “Umbra”, from Karnivool’s 2009 album Its awake, is an arrangement stripped of the sprawling progressive rocker.
To cover “Umbra” in any way is an ambitious endeavor, thanks to its shifting rhythms and complex chord progressions, as well as the distinctively breathtaking voice of frontman Ian Kenny. Bhargava certainly made the task more difficult by translating most of the song’s intricate guitar layers into a single piano part, backed up by a fairly straightforward string section.
âI very recently came up with the term ‘cinematic rock’ as the best way to describe my music,â Saahil said. Indian link. âAll of my songs have that kind of epic, awe-inspiring feel. It’s supposed to give the listener a feeling of being transported to another world and seeing a lot of things around them, and my lyrics tend to be very descriptive as well.
Drawing inspiration from classical music, Indian classical music, Bollywood music and “just about everything,” the musician started singing at the age of four and took to the piano. shortly after. Since then, Saahil has taken over the guitar, bass and even alto saxophone.
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Listening to his cover of “Umbra”, this passionate musical ear is cleared by small details of the original song that he chooses and develops. A short, barely audible descending guitar line at the end of the chorus appears in Saahil’s version as a grand string melody. Another highlight of the cover is when she takes the heavy riff of the original – arguably its most “headbanging” moment – and transforms it into an elegant piano line, with the strings emphasizing the harmonies. underlying of the original.
He clarified: âThis piano part that I wrote was ridiculous; it took a long time to get it and even longer to be able to save it. I worked with another guy who was also an exceptional keyboardist. Between the two of us, we made the piece work, and then we decided after hearing it that we needed to add some strings to it. It took a long time because it was basically just recalling what Karnivool had done, then figuring out how to make it work with one instrument, and then extrapolating it to four other instruments.
He cites Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Freddie Mercury as some of his vocal influences, as well as bands like Muse, Radiohead and of course Karnivool.
âI think (my interest) started when I was in high school in India, and I actually missed their gig in Bombay. I had a final exam or something like that that day. My friend said it was one of the best concerts they’ve seen, âSaahil said.
âThen it became a staple of my listening because there is so much to unwrap in the music of Karnivool. Each time I listened to each album, I learned something new from it. I’ve always been a huge fan of “Umbra” as a song in general, because its theme is so exciting and the lyrics really stood out on me.
For some fans, perhaps the only downside to Saahil’s version is Karnivool’s lack of punch, mostly due to its lack of drums. But he certainly makes up for that with a fiercely emotional vocal performance that strongly underscores the pain in singer Ian Kenny’s lyrics.
According to Saahil, “Every song has its own inspiration.”
No doubt its cover will now introduce the modern Australian rock band to a whole new audience, proving once again that music truly transcends all boundaries.
Find “Umbra” by Saahil Bhargava on YouTube, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon Prime Music.
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