Lea Bertucci and Amirtha Kidambi: They put a spell on you.
Lea Bertucci and Amirtha Kidambi: They put a spell on you. Astral Spirits

Amirtha Kidambi & Lea Bertucci, “Under the Influence” (Astral Spirits)

"Under the Influence" is a weird one, even by Inbox Jukebox standards. It appears on Amirtha Kidambi & Lea Bertucci's debut duo LP Phase Eclipse (released last November by Astral Spirits, but you may have missed it), which posits that the voice is an infinitely malleable instrument capable of inducing deepest trance states or working as a catalyst for the strangest dreams.

Vocalist Kidambi is a disciple of the Pandit Pran Nath school of raga melisma while sometimes edging into Urszula Dudziak's jazz-scat acrobatics. Her pipes serve as a supple conduit to odd intimations of bliss and transcendence. Bertucci operates a reel-to-reel tape machine here, manipulating Kidambi's chants and idiosyncratic utterances into ectoplasmic music of the spheres. "Under the Influence" is Phase Eclipse's pinnacle, an eerie séance of timbral mutation that's at times reminiscent of Nurse with Wound's "The Strange Play of the Mouth." This is devotional music disrupted by sinister forces, and it takes you to some bizarre and wonderful places. Listen below.