Image credit: Evolve Stills and Motion – Jamblu, REProduce Chhattarpur, October 2017
Speaking casually to a number of people in the Indian music industry, that’s the unified response I get when I ask why electronic music cannot seem to leave the main tier 1 cities (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore). Interviewing several others, I repeat the question: how can electronic music spread beyond the congested spaces of major metropolises. The answer again is unanimous: “venues”.
Image Credit: Humayun M
Islamabad likes to run slow. But having grown up in this city, musician Asfandyar Khan, who is also the artist behind electronic moniker TMPST, didn’t quite register the pace. This changed when he moved to Karachi in 2015. He found the city aligned with his own pace a lot more; perhaps this change is what made its way into TMPST’s upcoming release, ‘Unravel’.
Image credit: Prasiit Sthapit
Kathmandu-based electronica artist Phatcowlee, a.k.a Rajan Shrestha, is not a fan of nightclubs. His friends once took him to a party at a club in Kathmandu and he found himself lost in a sea of noise. “It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the nightclub scene here, but I just had an overwhelming sense of not belonging here,” says Shrestha. So, where does he feel like he belongs? “A bedroom? A room of people who actually care about electronic music? I don’t quite know yet,” he quips. …
Image: pcrc album art for ‘Portrait Of A Time’
Concealed in the sound waves of a record are traces of its past, an impression of a forgotten emotion or moments that couldn’t last. In his book ‘Gramophone, Film, Typewriter’, Friedrich A Kittler wrote if the phonographic disk had self-consciousness, it could point out while replaying a song that it remembers this particular song. And, what appears to us as the effect of a rather simple mechanism would, quite probably, strike the disk as a miraculous ability: memory.
Many years ago, Nigel Perera used to be a mobile DJ in Negombo, Sri Lanka. He’d play events such as weddings or birthday parties. “I used to listen to the golden pop hits from the 80s back in the day; the stuff on the radio,” he says. He played at a pub in Negombo where he’d DJ commercial music, old classic rock, the works. He would push himself to find that balance between what kind of music worked for the audiences there and what gave him satisfaction. …
You were wrong.
But don’t worry about it too much. With his recently released single, ‘You & Me’, Sahej Bakshi, the man behind Dualist Inquiry, has more tricks up his sleeve than even his best friends imagined.
Ikagar Saini is a man with no plan. He hates planning. So much, in fact, that he is committed to improvisation almost as a way of life. It’s what informs his music, his art, just about everything he does. His idea of expression is a spontaneous burst of emotion through his work, diverging from an abstract point of origin to a drastically different conclusion.
If you ask Natasha Humera Ejaz — which I did — the idea of happiness is really stupid. “It’s a strange theory,” she says. “Everyone’s always fighting for it. What it is. Where it is. How to capture it. I don’t want to go through life thinking that happiness is something that’s beyond my reach.” It really isn’t, which is why it’s such a stupid theory. And Ejaz, a Pakistani musician, actor, dancer, and educator, is creating reminders for herself, through her art, through the music she writes as Stupid Happiness Theory — that happiness isn’t really as elusive. That it’s within grasp for anyone who tries to capture it.