Dosti Music Project: A meaningful dialogue with three nations

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Applications for Dosti 2016 open on July 1 and will close on August 1 at 5:00pm E.S.T.

Although music has anchored the integration of society and culture from time immemorial, many theorists believe that it has also played a pivotal role in evoking change within a regressive social order. Reinforcing the need to forge bonds through a synchronous sociocultural movement, over the last few decades, this particular art form has helped constitute a passionate endeavour to promote solidarity amongst mankind. In an attempt to deconstruct all cultural dichotomies, artistes have often used music as an incubator to transcend all barriers with respect to politics, hierarchy and even societal norms.

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NEWS - 01. July 2015  


Danish Faruqi: Merging Musical Exploration With Social Relevance

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It’s easy to take things for granted and much more inconvenient to look beyond the ‘norm’ to see how flawed society and its structures and systems really are. Being well adjusted to a flawed society is not healthy, it is desensitisation. And from desensitisation stems hopelessness and blind acceptance of violence, intolerance, and the status quo,” said Danish Faruqi , a Karachi-based artiste, who has mastered the art of crafting musicality with exceptional finesse under the pseudonym AL AK. 



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NEWS - 30. June 2015   CITY - Karachi

»Pop-Kultur Newcomers« 2015: the application period has begun!

10983318_461715150654098_8583193299584201327_nYoung musicians, DJ’s, producers, label-, club-, and festival-managers, journalists, bloggers and students of these disciplines can apply for the program from now until July 10th, 2015 via www.pop-kultur.berlin/nachwuchs.

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NEWS - 25. June 2015   CITY - Berlin

BLUDGE: The Last Hippies Standing

Bludging

The changing landscape of the Sri Lankan music scene has given its own industry a much needed shot of adrenalin. It’s gone on to influence other creative disciplines from visual arts to fashion design, filmmaking and multi-disciplinary work unlike never before, making this tiny community almost too vibrant to be kept underground for much longer.

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NEWS - 22. June 2015   CITY - Colombo ARTIST - Asvajit

A View From The Sidelines: The Evolution of Curtain Blue


Curtain Blue - Profile

In May 2009, Abhishek Bhatia and his bandmates from The Circus,announced themselves to the scene at large, breaking out of the compact and restrictive Delhi circuit courtesy of Channel [V]’s Launchpad reality television series. The Circus were eliminated from the competition, failing to impress in the penultimate round, but, over the course of the series, had established themselves as one of the most refreshing and innovative acts that India had to offer. Bhatia’s distinctive approach to design played an integral role in grabbing the judges’, and the audience’s attention.

Today, Bhatia is further expanding his sonic aesthetic under the Curtain Blue moniker, a solo project that first broke out in late 2013. The wiry, introverted boy from Launchpad has grown into a calculating and self aware producer that has a blueprint in place, aided and abetted by the equally evolving members of The Circus. His talent has been appreciated by the likes of Robot Koch, who saw him perform at the first edition of the Magnetic Fields Festival and further collaborated with Bhatia on his latest release ‘Tsuki. He’s scheduled to perform at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival alongside fellow left-field Indian electronic acts Nicholson and Sulk Station. Yet, he betrays a sense of anxiety, one that seeps into his music, over the uncharted waters he’s on course to navigate. 

Bhatia’s defining characteristic has always been his ability to craft pop-soaked vocal hooks, manipulating and shaping them (using vocal processors) into a raw, visceral sonic experience. On Drones, his long awaited debut EP, he applies the same approach, using his vocals as a melancholic texture that float around a series of intricate, angular beats. An architect by profession, he manages to transfer his sense of design and space onto the record. Each sonic element belongs in a particular section of the environment that Bhatia has envisioned. On ‘Drones’ and ‘In Dreams’, that environment is desperate, as if two warring entities have launched a last ditch attack on each other, while ’Sentinels’ and ‘My Obscurity’ are confined to solitary, introspective spaces. Bhatia confesses to culturing a highly paranoid personality, one that is prominently showcased on this record. His attention to detail, highlighted by the fact that these songs have seen major and minor tweaks over the past two years, brings to the fore his struggle to attain perfection.

Last month, I caught Bhatia perform at the Mumbai launch of his EP. He was scheduled to play after Pangea, a band that is revered, and deservedly so, in the Mumbai community. Blue Frog was packed for their performance, and as Bhatia, who was celebrating his birthday, went about setting up on stage, he was witness to a rapidly dwindling audience, few of which made their way back in. As he picked up the mic, the club was enveloped in feedback, which left him dismayed. Earlier in the day, during soundcheck, he’d nitpicked at every little detail he could think of in order to make this club night work. His band setup is designed to make him feel comfortable on stage; comfort that he’s only developed over the past couple of years with The Circus. He has a habit of constantly looking back at Anshul Lal (The Circus), his drummer for reassurance. At that moment, he was anything but comfortable. 

Magnetic Fields

The quest to find the right sound dominates Bhatia’s agenda as a live musician. His standout performances have always been at festivals such as Magnetic Fields and Bacardi NH7 Weekender, festivals where the system itself is designed to bring out every idiosyncratic element that the artist has engineered. In India, club venues are frustratingly inept; failing to upgrade their sound system or adopting an acoustics blueprint that lacks any rational thought. At such venues, Bhatia’s music tends to get lost in translation. For example, listening to ‘Sentinels’ on headphones is a vastly different experience from hearing it live. Each percussive element, recorded live over multiple days at his home, is an integral part of the atmosphere he’s created. When such details are hidden due to a crude sound system, part of Bhatia’s genius is removed. Even though his time with The Circus has prepared him for this, and would have probably jaded many other artists, Bhatia is attempting to push clubs in a direction where acoustics are the number one priority. 

Drones is an extension of Bhatia’s paranoia. The EP claws at his insecurities, struggling to disassociate itself from the gluttony of electronic music producers that have entered the industry in the hope that they too can get their 15 minutes of fame. Bhatia has never been as captivating, or determined, as he is on this record. What makes this part of Bhatia’s journey so engaging is that as Curtain Blue, it feels like he’s let loose and is free to explore whatever narrative he desires. And as he’s showcased over the past seven years, the narrative he chooses to explore only pushes the scene forward. 

written by Uday Kapur

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NEWS - 01. June 2015   CITY - New Delhi ARTIST - Curtain Blue

Spotlight: Mixtape

Naveen Deshpande_Photo by Naman Saraiya

For Naveen Deshpande, head honcho of Mixtape, the journey really began in the early noughties when he played drums for Pune death metal outfit, Black Hole Theory in his teens. Back then Indian bands were no strangers to the lure of metal and its sub-genres, a trend that can be seen even in todays ever-growing multi genre contemporary music scenario. 

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NEWS - 11. May 2015  

Interview: TMPST/Asfandyar Khan

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The Pakistani ‘underground’ music scene is not what it once was. From lazy, close-to-terrible covers of Radiohead, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, those serious about their inclination towards music have veered in their own directions, finding their own niche, and some have even built their own sounds.

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NEWS - 22. April 2015   CITY - Karachi ARTIST - Asfandyar Khan

New Beginnings: Consolidate

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Bangalore has always been a breeding ground for nascent concepts and ideas. The city, blessed with its fair share of accomplished musicians and exciting new talent is widely recognised as one of India’s most exciting musical hubs. Embracing the out-of-the-ordinary has long been a feature of this city’s music-loving aficionados. A bevy of such concepts find wings to take flight in namma Bengaluru, and one such concept is ‘Consolidate’, a community where fringe electronica thrives.

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NEWS - 16. April 2015   CITY - Bangalore ARTIST - RHL

Exploring The Broader Canvas Of Music

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My role as a musician is to sculpt harmonies out of sounds and vibrations which further the beauty of the cosmos. Music offers a subjective way of experiencing reality. From quarks, galaxies to the entire observable universe, everything is in motion. We have to develop an appreciation of the symphonic reality that we’re a part of. You know how sometimes we’re unable to ‘think straight’. I have come to realise that clarity of the mind forms only when you harmonise with your surroundings,” says Karachi-based Ramsha Shakeel, an experimental musician whose dabbles with macabre timbres and rhythmical depth has led to some incredible experiments within the drone and ambient world. Although the artiste’s musical journey is a synergistic collision of art, science and philosophy; it’s her metaphysical romance with the cosmos that perhaps best describes her tryst with music.

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NEWS - 08. April 2015   CITY - Karachi ARTIST - Ramsha Shakeel

Prateek Kuhad: Auditorium Upstart

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Its been nearly two months since I watched singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad launch his debut LP, In Tokens and Charms to an intimate audience at the Little Theatre at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai.

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NEWS - 04. April 2015   CITY - Mumbai ARTIST - Prateek Kuhad


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