Sei Hek’s Debut Album Grips You With a Powerful Display

Manipur’s progressive/math rock setup Sei Hek have dropped their debut self-titled album, comprised of ten eloquently composed instrumental tracks courtesy of guitarist-composer Khuraijam Sanjeet and drummer-producer Reeshav Gohain.

In this feature, we dig into the album and travel behind the scenes with Khuraijam to discover more about Sei Hek’s production.

Since stamping their presence in the indie music scene in 2019 with ‘Leap of Faith,’ a tune influenced by Meitei culture, Sei Hek has gone on to open for American progressive rockers CHON and appeared onstage alongside guitarist-composer Jakub Zytecki as a guest act earlier this year.

Now armed with years of experience, Sei Hek fires out their maiden album, teeming with marauding percussions, blaring guitar solos, nifty bass rhythms, gritty synth work, and also threading in lush horn components. Khuraijam cites a slew of influences that helped shape the album, circling guitarists, producers, and composers such as CHON, Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), Jakub Zytecki, Plini, Alfa Mist, Owane, and Matteo Mancuso.

Sei Hek – Take Me Away

With this release, Sei Hek fortifies their music resume and adds much-needed limelight to progressive rock ballads in India. “The process of creating this album has been a journey of putting our collective knowledge into this one cohesive piece of music that truly encapsulates our album ‘Sei Hek,'” said Khuraijam.

“It’s a major accomplishment for me and Reeshav, after working hard on this for so many years,” He added. “Being able to finally see it come to life as a piece of art is truly a gratifying moment for us.”

Examining the album, laid over ambient textures and rhythmic guitar notes is the opening single ‘Inceptio,’ a hard-hitting guitar-led melody furnished with a mesmeric outro. ‘Stargazer’ follows suit, producing a stellar back-and-forth sequence between the guitars and drums, while the hard rock energy runs rampant on the power ballad ‘Take Me Away’ – a song about yearning to get away and seeking comfort. Moved by the chaos and violence in Manipur, Sanjeet pieced this composition together after arriving in Mumbai.

‘Serenity’ provides a blissful breakaway, complete with sounds of birds chirping and river babbles leading you into ‘b r e e z e,’ which plugs in beats from musician Yonoh. “This album was composed around the idea of ordinary human experience and reflecting upon it, interspersed with abstract elements,” voiced Khuraijam, evidently glimpsed in tracks ‘Relocate,’ ‘Tether’ and ‘Drifting Mind’ – a melody with a catchy oscillating flow.

Synth-ladled ‘Summer’ pounces with a rebellious tempo and eclectic guitar work, while the album-closing ‘Here Comes The Loop!’ serves up a progressive metal score glued by firey guitars and drum patterns. A smooth sax detail, courtesy of Matius Pecorale, caresses the music toward its conclusion.

Divulging their creative process behind the music, Khuraijam said, “I take charge of the composition, arrangement, production, and writing process, while Reeshav handles the percussive elements and co-arrangement. We have been a duo project for quite some time now, so the bass production was done with the help of VSTs (Virtual Studio Technology) such as UmanskyBass and Euro Bass 2 by SubMission Audio.”

Khuraijam also admits that programming the bass, synths, and other FX was stretched due to his lack of expertise in the field; however, he mentioned that “Eventually, everything fell into place, and in spite of the time factor, it was smooth sailing otherwise.”

Sei Hek – Debut Album

When it comes to their cover art, Sei Hek have yet again produced an eye-catching and intriguing display. We probed into the album’s artwork, and Khuraijam responded, “In our vision of this album, we wanted an artwork that perfectly exemplifies our music, which our friend, Biswajit Gogoi, delivered flawlessly! He is an amazing visual artist, vocalist, and down-to-earth guy.”

We concluded our interaction with Khuraijam giving a shout-out to Debarshi Hazarika, who put the final touches on the album. He expressed, “My good friend, Debarshi Hazarika, nailed it with the mix and master. Really glad to have finally worked together.”

Find Sei Hek on: Instagram | Facebook | Spotify

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