Thanya Iyer is constantly exploring. Her music moves from place to place — flute trills signaling a change in direction, plucked violins tiptoeing to the front of the mix, rich harmonies drifting in like humid air — though she never wanders aimlessly. As rooted in the conventions of South Indian Classical music as she is in improvisational jazz and pop, the Montreal-based artist seems intent on bringing out the fullness of her every idea, and, backed by a rhythm section of Alexander Kasirer-Smibert and percussionist Daniel Gélinas, she does so without losing focus. Her debut album, Do You Dream?, was aptly titled in that respect, exploring the space between reality and fiction, tangible and immaterial. Her second album, KIND, premiering below, is even more ambitious, a captivating and richly rewarding record that explores cultural identity, justice, and emancipation and never settles for simple mantras, either lyrically or musically.
“KIND is about the changes we go through and the lessons we learn throughout our life,” Iyer wrote in an email to the FADER. “Finding yourself — learning to be kind to yourself and others around you — the complexity and many dimensions of humankind. At first I thought this was a story about getting from one place to another — and the second place was a “good” spot to be in, happier, or better. But upon the culmination of KIND, I realized that journeys aren’t so straightforward. They’re filled with setbacks, struggle, loss, joys — like changing tides. We just have to keep going through all the highs and lows with our full presence, because it's about the process. At the root of it all is kindness. Gather your friends and your community and build something beautiful.”
Listen to KIND in full below. The album is out this Friday, July 31, via Topshelf Records. Pre-order the album on Bandcamp.