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Analysing the rise of the ‘EP’

Noor Anand Chawla

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Consumption of music has changed fundamentally since the pandemic began. The popularity of streaming platforms has surged through the roof, as we stay cooped up in our homes with no access to live concerts, restaurants or cinema halls. Apart from their many benefits, one decided advantage of streaming platforms is the access they give us to the wide range of talented indie artists across genres. 

In this difficult period, indie artists have also flourished, using the extra time on hand to create great-quality music more frequently than earlier. Unfortunately, with people’s reduced attention spans, album releases are no longer a feasible commercial option. Singles have become the easiest and best way forward. A few prolific musicians and artists have created numerous singles in the last year, creating a body of work that can easily be compiled into a single presentation — bringing back the concept of the ‘EP’. 

An EP is an extended play record that contains more tracks than a single, but fewer than an album or long play record (LP). Nowadays, EPs usually consist of four or five tracks, making them less expensive and time-consuming to produce, in comparison to albums. There has been a resurgence in the release of EPs in 2020-21, with the latest one being ‘Escape’, released by Canada-based Music Producer Asad Khan aka Khanvict, on 11 June.

He says, “Three to four tracks of the EP were released as singles but there is an overall sense of cohesion between the tracks that were chosen for this project. Not many people listen to a longer body of work as often as they used to before the DSP age, so we kept that in mind when designing strategy. That said, I would love to do a full length album at some point in the near future — something that tells a story from top to bottom!”

‘Escape’ is an amalgamation of Electronic, World, Bass, South Asian, EDM, Desi, and Folktronic genres, and has been released under the Snakes x Ladders label. The title of this EP is directly inspired by Khan’s series of weekly live streams on Twitch called ‘Escape’, which attracted up to 2,500 viewers on Friday nights. It was clear to him that everyone was looking for an escape from the situation they were collectively part of, and good music was the answer.

“Escape has been in the works for about a year and a half. Each song was its own unique process and story. The overall vision was to step up the sound design, and quality of the sound. I love high-fidelity, rich sound and getting my tracks closer to that was important for me on this project. I’m happy with how it has turned out,” he says excitedly.

‘Escape’ offers six tracks, some of which are results of collaborations. ‘Impedance’ is Khan’s collaboration with LA-based Raaginder and ‘Kingdom’ with Amritha Shakti. He met her backstage at a festival in New York City in 2019, but the song was conceptualised, written and recorded remotely during the pandemic. The track ‘Something Worth Protecting’, is a collaboration with Tej aka ‘The Lost Strings’. “There has to be some synergy as humans first — a real connection — that creates a vibe which leads to successful collaborations,” says Khan who believes that working with other artists brings a unique perspective on board.

With a million streams on Spotify and his recent release, ‘Closer’, getting upwards of 12 lakh plays on YouTube, the year has been very successful for Khan. Hailing the power of perseverance, he says, “people need to recognise that all good things take time to build. Steady and consistent effort over years will yield results no matter what your natural talent level may be. Work ethic and consistency are more important than natural talent, in my opinion. And last but not least, a team matters – find people who believe in you and want you to achieve your goals and dreams. I have an amazing team at Snakes x Ladders, that is a force behind each release and project,” he says.

If you are looking for high-quality music as a means of escape or just for entertainment, check out Khanvict’s EP ‘Escape’, currently streaming on all major platforms.

The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on nooranand@gmail.com.

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