Here’s what I’ve been listening to:

Sonder by TesseracT – TesseracT is one of my favorite bands, and I was eagerly awaiting the release of Sonder every since it was announced. This album is fantastic and is quite possibly my favorite of 2018 so far. Dan sounds better than ever (Sonder features some amazing harsh vocals), the musical composition is top-notch, the odd time signatures are delightful, the bass lines bring a smile to my face, and the mix is stellar. My only complaint? I wish it were longer.

Where Owls Know My Name by Rivers of Nihil – A breathtaking modern metal album. Saxophones make an appearance on a couple of songs on this record and do not feel out of place in the slightest.

Esoteric Malacology by Slugdge – A progressive metal album about slugs featuring AWESOME guitar riffs!

Fractured by Lunatic Soul – This album introduced me to the musical genius that is Mariusz Duda.

Loma by Loma – An ethereal indie pop record.



Happy new year everyone! Continuing a tradition I started in 2016, here is my favorite music from 2017 in no particular order:

Migration by Bonobo — This was the first Bonobo album I listened to and I instantly fell in love with his take on electronic music.

Lykaia by Soen — On Soen’s first album they sounded almost exactly like TOOL, but they have since then evolved and created their own unique sound. 2017’s Lykaia is a progressive metal tour de force.

Emperor of Sand by Mastodon — Metal titans Mastodon released another spectacular album this year. The album revolves around cancer and death, and the result is a powerful, emotionally evocative record.

Mesmer by Northlane — Mesmer is Northlane’s second album with vocalist Marcus Bridge and is less heavier than their previous records. 2015’s Node is my favorite Northlane album, with Mesmer being a close second.

The Optimist by Anathema — Another stellar progressive rock album from Anathema. 2017 was also the year I discovered this awesome band.

Planetarium by James McAlister, Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens, and Nico Muhly — Planetarium is a masterpiece. Each of the four artists lend their unique touch to this beautiful record.

Flying Microtonal Banana by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard promised the world that they would release five albums in 2017. And they did! This is an incredible feat, especially when you consider that each of those five albums sound completely different from the others, and they are all great albums. Flying Microtonal Banana was the first album they released in 2017. It features microtonal instruments, resulting in a very unique sound quite unlike anything I’ve heard before.

Murder Of The Universe by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s second album of 2017 was heavier than Flying Microtonal Banana, sounding similar to 2016’s Nonagon Infinity. 

Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s fourth album of 2017 ditches the heaviness of Murder Of The Universe, and instead embraces a more mellow rock sound.

Gumboot Soup by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s last album of 2017 features their distinctive rock sound, along with vocals unlike anything they’ve done before.

Homey by CHON — This album features CHON’s characteristic happy guitars, with a tiny bit of electronic music.

RARE by Hundredth — Hundredth abandon their heavy music and harsh vocals on RARE, and instead opt for a more ethereal, shoegaze sound resulting in a excellent album.

Add Violence by Nine Inch Nails — 2017 was the year I really started listening to Nine Inch Nails, and this EP was where I began.

Zia by aswekeepsearching — A sublime post-rock album from an incredibly talented band from India.

The Sin And The Sentence by Trivium — This is Trivium’s first album with drummer Alex Bent, and they sound better (and heavier) than ever.

Doom Side of The Moon by Doom Side of The Moon — a re-imagining of one of my favorite albums of all time.

Clairvoyant by The Contortionist — My favorite album of 2017. I wrote a review about it a few months ago.

To The Bone by Steven Wilson — Steven Wilson made an awesome pop rock album!

Mareridt by Myrkur — A hauntingly beautiful album.

False Idol by Veil of Maya — An extremely enjoyable and catchy modern progressive metal album featuring some incredible (and highly technical) guitar work.

The Almanac by Kardashev — Kardashev combine unique and highly technical guitar playing with harsh and clean vocals to craft a unique, ethereal sound.

Forever by Code Orange — Hardcore punk rock + heavy metal + industrial metal = Forever.

The Weather by Pond — An extremely fun rock album from these musical geniuses from Perth.

Malina by Leprous — A gorgeous album (though not as good as 2015’s The Congregation in my opinion) by progressive metal/rock titans Leprous.

What did you listen to in 2017?


I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The Contortionist’s Clairvoyant ever since they released the first single of the album. Each subsequent single got me even more excited, and September 15th (the album’s release date) couldn’t arrive fast enough.

After about a month of listening to Clairvoyant an (almost) infinite number times I’m happy to say that the album has lived up to all my expectations, and it is staggeringly beautiful.

Clairvoyant eschews The Contortionist’s earlier heavy progressive metal sound and instead forges ahead on the journey that they began with Language in 2014 – this album is what I would describe as “minimalist progressive metal” (why yes, I do believe I just invented that term), with some songs being almost progressive rock. This album is even less heavy than Language, and features only a tiny amount of screaming (only one song as far as I can tell).

What this album does feature in abundance though is the musical complexity that makes The Contortionist such a delight to the ears. The guitars are simple, layered, and not too heavy; the drums are complicated yet (somehow) subtle; the bass powerful and perfect; and the vocals are haunting. Mike Lessard’s vocals on this album are nothing short of incredible, and bring a lot of emotional depth (you can read more about the background of the album here) to all the songs. His vocals are perhaps my favorite part of the album, with the guitars being a close second.

Clairvoyant is easily one of favorite albums of all time. With this album I believe that The Contortionist have created their own unique sound, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this immensely talented band.


I leave for my vacation to Thailand in about a month. Before I go I’ve decided to challenge myself and learn at least 50% of “Under Different Welkins” by Novelists. This is by far the hardest song I’ve attempted to learn and I’m looking forward to this challenge. I’ve been playing my seven string guitar more and more lately and this song feels like it would be a lot of fun to play.


I visited Japan (specifically Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka)  in July with my brother and my best friend. It was an incredible experience. This was the first international vacation I’d taken in a while (not counting visits back home to India) and I had a lot of fun.


Nijo Castle

If you’re planning to visit Japan (and I’d highly recommend doing so) here are some tips that might help you:

  • Visit Hiroshima. It is an intense, heart-wrenching, and emotionally moving experience. It will change you.

    The Hiroshima Peace Memorial
  • Get a Japan Rail (JR) pass. It allows you to use Japan’s excellent public rail system an unlimited number of times for a flat fee for 7, 14, or 21 days. It makes traveling between and within cities in Japan effortless. Make sure to also install the HyperDia app to help you plan your travels.
  • Throw out all your clothes before you leave for Japan and be prepared to acquire a whole new set of clothes when you’re back. Why? Because the food in Japan is SO GOOD that you’re going to eat A LOT and none of your old clothes will fit you anymore. To say that every meal I had in Japan was excellent would be an understatement. Highlights for me included my meal at Len, fatty tuna, Wagyu beef, tsukemen, and ochazuke.




One of the many highlights of my recent visit to Japan was a dinner I had at Len (also called Ren). Len is a two Michelin starred restaurant in Tokyo and I managed to get a 6pm dinner reservation there on my second last night in Japan.

The meal was phenomenal. I love Japanese food, and in my mind this meal exemplified everything that attracts me towards Japanese cuisine – simplicity, elegance, and the freshness of ingredients.

Restaurants that “ruin” a food item for me hold a special place in my heart. By “ruin” here I mean that they serve me such a perfect version of the food item in question that subsequent versions I eat elsewhere will (most likely) pale in comparison. This first happened to me at Quince where I had the best mac and cheese I’d ever had in my life, and it happened again at Len, where I had the most sublime and incredible rice and eel I’ve ever tasted. This is a simple dish, but in its simplicity lies perfection.

Here are some pictures from my dinner:

Sea urchin and steamed egg custard
Water melon and abalone soup.
Chef Jun Mishina charcoal grilling pike eel.
Charcoal grilled pike eel. This was my first time eating pike eel!
Japanese beef and eggplant with a plum sauce.
Steamed rice and eel with house-made pickles. Perfection.



My goal for June was to read ten research papers. Unfortunately I failed.

Here are the papers I read:

  1. WiscKey: Separating Keys from Values in SSD-conscious Storage
  2. Polaris: Faster Page Loads Using Fine-grained Dependency Tracking
  3. Efficient Memory Disaggregation with Infiniswap
  4. Redundancy Does Not Imply Fault Tolerance: Analysis of Distributed Storage Reactions to Single Errors and Corruptions
  5. Early Detection of Configuration Errors to Reduce Failure Damage
  6. MemC3: Compact and Concurrent MemCache with Dumber Caching and Smarter Hashing
  7. Replex: A Scalable, Highly Available Multi-Index Data Store

Here I the papers I didn’t have the time to read:

  1. CORFU: A distributed shared log
  2. vCorfu: A Cloud-Scale Object Store on a Shared Log
  3. Hints for Computer System Design

Favorite paper – WiscKey: Separating Keys from Values in SSD-conscious Storage