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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Canadian producer, singer and songwriter Koushik Ghosh is 100 percent DIY, do-it-yourself. Koushik's genre-bending sound stretches across psychedelic, pop soul, and hip-hop.

(Soundbite of music)

BRAND: Koushik's rep has grown over the last several years, thanks largely to underground mixed tapes. His first full-length album Out My Window has just been released. NPR's Christopher Johnson talks with Koushik and has the story.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON: Ever met one of those both-sides-of-the-brain people? That's Koushik. Yeah, he's an artist juggling a trillion musical ideas. He's even got a master's degree in ethnomusicology. Then there's his other degree, the left-brain one, in biostatistics. Koushik's been into math since he was a teenager, even though he sees that as a mixed blessing.

Mr. KOUSHIK GHOSH (Singer/Songwriter, Producer): Most math people I know are lunatics, anyways. But math people are kind of maybe less susceptible to putting things in categories. Like I don't really think of '60s rock versus '70s rock, I guess. You know, a lot of things are just music and sound.

(Soundbite of song "Be With")

JOHNSON: Koushik's parents had him studying classical Indian music when he was a boy. His folks emigrated from Calcutta to Ontario in the 1960s. Koushik also got a good dose of dance music thanks to his older brother, a successful techno producer. As he grew up, Koushik's own tastes spread out to all sorts of rock, and to rap music.

(Soundbite of song "Out My Window")

JOHNSON: "Out My Window" isn't just the sign of an eclectic record collection begging to be mined for samples. Here, Koushik shows off his pallet, flexing his fluency across genres. And the mellow in his music smoothes over all the scenes

(Soundbite of song "Lying in the Sun")

JOHNSON: Melted over top of it all are Koushik's breathy vocals. The air behind his lyrics somehow chills out even the heaviest beats. He says his vocals snap into place and work so well, almost like another instrument, because of the way he puts his songs together.

Mr. KOUSHIK: The lyrics, some of them were just written in a strange way, whereas - lines here, lines there, and the lyrics just came out at the track. Right now I'm kind a disbelief that it worked out in the end, that the vocals kind of fit the music.

(Soundbite of song "Lying in the Sun")

JOHNSON: Koushik won't talk about what his songs mean or even what he sings about. It's only slightly easier to pry out of him which song he likes the best.

Mr. KOUSHIK: Maybe "Lying in the Sun." It was for the most part done in, like, you know, half a day, kind of thing. And I could tell it was something special, I guess.

(Soundbite of song "Lying in the Sun")

JOHNSON: The chill-out factor in Koushik's mood music comes partly from the great outdoors. He's no recluse, but Koushik likes to spend time alone roaming in the mountains near his home in upstate Vermont. The Adirondack air does a body good. And the peace and quiet brings Koushik closer to his art.

Mr. KOUSHIK: One of the biggest challenges as a musician is just keeping that clear brain when you are working on stuff, almost drawing a blank, and just going from there.

JOHNSON: Koushik is already going big time - at least in underground hip-hop circles. His record company, the LA-based label Stone Throw, has helped draw in lots of fans keen on Koushik's eclectic rap and funk infusions. Koushik is all A-game on "Out My Window," his most mature piece to date. The former math nerd serves up a warm and dense ethereal trip that'll have you floating in no time. Christopher Johnson, NPR News.

BRAND: You can hear songs from Koushik's new album, "Out My Window," at our website, npr.org/music.

(Soundbite of song "Lying in the Sun")

BRAND: Day to Day is a production of NPR News and Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And I'm Alex Chadwick.

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