Review

Md Pallavi & Andi Otto

Songs For Broken Ships

Pingipung • 2023

MD Pallavi and Andi Otto met in a theatre context and in a way, that already says it all. On their joint debut album, the Pingipung co-owner allows the actress and director, who is trained in Hindustani music, to stage herself. It’s as if the rhythmic-musical framework were stage boards for the versatile singer. »Songs for Broken Ships« follows several one-off collaborations and allows the duo, working across the distance between Bangalore and Hamburg, to develop their own aesthetic over time. Pallavi’s lyrics, sung in Kannada, are not the focus here, although the music accompanies, underscores and accentuates her rhythmic performance rather than setting the tone itself. Otto’s potentially sparsely instrumented yet sonically rich compositions trod along the downtempo pace if they don’t pick up on discoid or even housey grooves and tempos, creating new sceneries with ever different means—warm, accentuated double bass sounds here, flashy synths there, sometimes both—in which Pallavi can unfold again and again in no less varied ways. No two pieces sound the same, but the whole album exactly like only these two could achieve it.