Chennai-based fusion music group Oxygen release their first The Metagen Project to mark their 20th anniversary

Exploring different musical genres and merging them with Indian classical and folk music and experimenting with a variety of unusual musical instruments has become a new passion for musicians. And a group based in Chennai Oxygen – World music group is in the spotlight for his recently released experimental album, The Metagen project, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the group.

Founded by C Girinandh, he tells us that through his musical group, he tries to explore various spectral and sonic abilities with the latest technologies to create a unique immersive experience. The landmark album celebrates their journey so far.

With six songs in the album, it incorporates several genres from around the world. You hear a wonderful fusion of jazz and funk mixed with Tamil and Bihu folk. Moreover, all this is expressed through the language of aesthetic lighting and color combinations, which makes it a rare musical composition.

Additionally, Tenor Strings, a 20-member orchestra based in Chennai, added a grand touch to this project with their perfect sound and timing. More than 60 musicians worked on the album in collaboration with Oxygen, Girinandh tells us that there are 36 original compositions featuring various musical genres, techniques and renowned artists. “It’s a great learning experience to grow musically because it’s a journey in itself. Through this process, we embraced the technology that helped us express the sound we had. Now we feel we can explore more with this hybrid sonic performance. We are also very lucky to collaborate with many musicians, which has been a great learning experience and a real bond,” says Girinandh.

C Girinand

Composed over a period of eight months, the musical album contains tracks that he says were revisited from their previous album. “The challenge and the key was to form a string orchestra of 20 musicians and have the scores played”, shares the musician. With three tracks already released from the album, each striking the right chord with the epitome of Oxygen’s music, one of the tracks Thandanaan has vocals from Muthusirpi, a folk artist from Tamil Nadu. The remaining five songs, we learn, are instrumental with rhythms borrowed from different genres like classical symphonic, rock, jazz funk, oriental fusion, Bihu folk fusion and hybrid new age – each of them presented with highly abstract images, providing opportunities for various interpretations.

Over the last two decades of his musical journey, Girinandh observes a void in original live bands. He says covers of any musical group usually bring more traction as audiences relate to them more. “So eventually the big bands are turning to covers, which is great in terms of commercial music. But there’s still a global audience for instrumental music and that’s definitely a healthy future for original indie bands in live”, considers the musician, who, with the members of his group, is working on Metagene Season 2 with 36 song ideas ready. “We plan them with projection mapping and immersive concepts,” he concludes.

The songs are streamed on YouTube and other music platforms.