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Agaaze makes wide-ranging electro-pop album 'For You' 

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Agathya Visveswaran, a former Hochstein School of Music student, currently studies cognitive science at the University of Michigan. When he’s not in class, he makes swirling electronic pop music under the name Agaaze. His first release, 2021’s “A Portal Inside,” took a shapeshifting approach to dance music. “For You,” his latest album, chronicles a self-love journey in its lyrics while showcasing his knack for complex electronic tracks.

The son of a jazz drummer and an Indian veena player (the instrument is a relative of the lute), Visveswaran grew up on lyric-forward hip-hop and picked up classical guitar at age 6. That kind of mélange helped him realize his wide-ranging creative impulses on “For You.”

In the span of seven songs, he ventures from cool cocktail fusion with “I Don’t Got Time For This Today,” to Drake-inspired minimalism on “Are You Real?” and multi-part funky explorations on “The Door” and “Cinnamon Paradise.” Visveswaran played every instrument — guitar and keyboard most prominently — and recorded and mixed the album by himself.

Throughout, he alternates between sung melodies and flatly delivered rhymes that tell a loose and vaguely psychedelic story about grappling with love. “For You” centers around Visveswaran constantly unspooling his own emotions, projections, and playful come-ons in a voice shrouded in smoky reverb. “Lately I’ve been dreaming that I’d kiss the sky a thousand colors if I could live forever,” he sings over a synth-heavy beat.

He recently said in an interview on the A&R Factory blog that he penned the lyrics first, spilling out the narrative before he wrote most of the music. As a result, “For You” is verbose. But when Visveswaran focuses on his ornately constructed instrumentals instead, magic happens. The dynamic “Still Water” surges to life propelled by break-neck drumming, and its subterranean vibe feels at home alongside Toro y Moi and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Though its artist is a student, “For You” is no lo-fi study beats playlist. You’ll want to pay attention to Agaaze’s every note.

Patrick Hosken is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to
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