Beast Nest is Sharmi Basu‘s performance alias while guiding people through trauma. Basu has worked for many years in mutual aid spaces as an organizer and certified mediator to bring resources to the Bay Area’s queer and trans-BIPOC community.
On January 28, 2022, Beast Nest released “Sicko,” an experimental/electronic eclectic journey following the Ghost Ship fire on December 2, 2016. Since then, Basu reckoned their mental health issues were a bit out of control, so they found comfort in the arms of music.
“Sicko” is an incredible sonic journey consisting of six tracks that meditate a sense of personal and collective liberation.
“All my music is dedicated to Beni and the Queer and Trans freaks that make my life so fun and wholesome, nerdy, joyful, cool, and weird. I want safety and empowerment for us all. I want us to make stuff when we want to and consume stuff when we want to. I want us to have shelter and whatever we need to feel the least shitty on our shitty days and super happy on our happy days“. — Sharmi Basu, Beast Nest
To be honest, I would call “Sicko” more of an auditory exploration than an album. The opening track, ‘Relief/Refuge,’ show clear influences of Indian music that slowly transform into an atmospheric journey that leaves you suspended.
The second track is bouncy in places and challenges you in unique, exciting ways. The aural landscape seems full of twisting and alien power generated by synths, FM sequences, and frantic drum patterns. Each sonic fragment challenges the ears as it unfolds.
With each song, you get disoriented, but you will eventually return to beautiful moments. The tracks aren’t exactly calm but hypnotic, as they exist outside regular auditory stimulation. The album identifies Basu’s moments of chaos and conflict while guiding them towards resolution. In addition, the screams on ‘Frog’ and ‘Ur Doing Great Sweaty’ bring tension to “Sicko,” evoking another soundscape.
I feel that this album is a painful expression, generating uncomfortable emotions. “Sicko” introduces us to other worldly sensations, a universe that feels free of human rules and never stops mutating to become stronger. With “Sicko,” Beast Nest has succeeded in producing a soundscape that evokes a visceral yet bouncy reaction in the listener.
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