by Quentin Singer
Every Berklee student is aware of the melting pot of cultures and music styles that inhabit the college. People from all over the world meet at this school to form bands or simply recruit musicians. In doing so, original content flourishes, and ultimately makes it hard to find two musicians who like all the same music. The Berklee band Ajna, demonstrates this formula to perfection. Lead vocalist Felipe Maldonado, founded the band with members from all corners of the earth (USA, Europe, South America), and if you’ve never heard nor seen Ajna before, their music can be best described as a dreamy soundscape of indie-rock and electronic pleasures.
While it’s become convenient to enjoy music/media via digital streaming, not all art can be experienced through a pair of earbuds and a shiny clear screen. Seeing the band perform at the House of Blues (Foundation Room), it became clear that Ajna’s live shows are what make them stand apart from every other Berklee band, or even any band for the matter. They utilize a variety of instrument effects on practically every piece of equipment making no song sound the same. Some might even think using too many effects can make songs sound over processed or even unnatural at times, however the band seamlessly demonstrates a balance of effects and natural talent, especially when it comes to Felipe’s vocals.
Having an already powerful vocal range, the vocal processing and effects only accentuated the sound of Ajna, with the many other unique nuances the band had to offer. It’s pretty difficult to describe what seeing or listening to Ajan is like – it’s one of those things that’s better seen than said. If there’s two attributes that struck me most about their performance, it was the psychedelic and dynamic aspects. From the aforementioned instrument effects to the use of projected and programmed visual art, it’s apparent the band enjoys an aesthetic similar to some of the biggest bands of the late 60s and early 70s and their music fits perfectly with this. Their music demonstrates an array of emotion and explosive talent. The opening song of their set burst into this heavy head bobbing thunder, similar to the likes of Muse, while later songs later on simmered in a mellow upbeat groove, similar to artists like Mac DeMarco.
It’s difficult to name the exact songs that I most enjoyed from Ajna, mainly because they hardly have any music online. This past weekend, the band released their debut single entitled “Chamillion Worlds.” The song is definitely on their more mellow side and it showcases some of the indie experimental vibes the band has at it’s core. Regardless of not having a lot of online presence, the band is branching out and gaining some incredible opportunities, with the most notable being a slot on Outside Lands 2018. As awesome as “Chamillion Worlds” sounds I’m eager to hear if their future releases can capture the same aura of their live performances.