What does yearning sound like? A composer versed in Hindustani classical music might reach for Raga Bageshri, a melodic framework meant to stir longing for reunion with one’s lover. Bageshri dictates the melody of a slew of romantic film soundtracks, including “Aaja Re Pardesi,” theme to the mystical meet-cute amid the misty pines of northern India that opens the 1958 film Madhumati. Just like that film’s protagonist, electronic musician and vocalist Arushi Jain turned to Bageshri in a landscape filled with wildlife, using the raga to compose the nine tracks on her latest record in a makeshift studio on the shores of Long Island. What Jain yearns for on this record, however, is not a lover but an emotion. On Delight, Jain grasps for a joy that lies tantalizingly out of reach, bringing melodies informed by Raga Bageshri into dazzling contact with modular synthesis and digital manipulation.

That’s no easy task, given the baggage of a genre whose history is centuries old. Attempts to mix Hindustani classical and electronic music date back to at least the late 1960s, as documented by an archival compilation and accompanying book assembled by Emptyset’s Paul Purgas and released last year. Indian musicologist Gita Sarabhai founded India’s first electronic music studio at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, in 1969 and experimented with marshaling the Moog to perform Hindustani scales. But Sarabhai was a purist, seeing in Western harmony a dangerous, alien influence on the traditions she was working to preserve in a state freshly liberated from colonial rule. Jain remains open to the possibilities of hybridity and cross-pollination, crafting her own sound in the space opened up by diaspora. Now, working with instrumentalists for the first time, she folds a bit of New York into her cascading, hybrid melodies.

These compositions represent Jain at her most vibrant, coaxing a cornucopia of sounds out of a single raga. Effervescent samples from classical guitarist Ria Modak punctuate a sea of eddying electronics on “Still Dreaming”; MIZU’s aching cello line on “Exquisite Portraiture” morphs in and out of a midnight hum; flutist Annie Wu has a bright, reverb-soaked duet with Jain’s synth work over an understated, evolving rhythm on “Imagine an Orchestra.” Jain’s pointillistic sound-design techniques also add to the pleasure of Delight. An aquatic feel permeates “Our Touching Tongues,” where Payton MacDonald’s glittering marimba flows forward and in reverse. And Jain breaks her voice into grains of sound in “Infinite Delight,” creating microscopic textures even as she bends between microtones. If Under the Lilac Sky was drenched in sunset hues, Delight emanates iridescence through a diversity of electronic and acoustic textures.

Bageshri is meant to be played at midnight; fittingly, Jain ventures into drum programming redolent of the heady minimal techno that permeates Brooklyn’s nightclub scene. “Imagine an Orchestra” and “Play in the Void” incorporate bass drums that pulse forth like a heartbeat. The first track is more relaxed and the second runs at a more anxious, anticipatory clip, as if the joy so desired were just within reach. By the time Jain divulges that desire in English—“I feel irresistibly drawn to your beauty,” she sings on closer “You Are Irresistible”—the album reaches a heavenly peak, and her pitch-bent vocals flit gracefully above four-on-the-floor kicks. It’s trance music of a different kind, a euphoria whose arrival is foreshadowed by record’s teasing Bageshri melodies. Descending like the rays of light that stream into the club as the morning sun rises, delight finally replaces yearning as the music fades into the ether.

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Arushi Jain: Delight