Image Credit – Peter Cat Recording Co.
I began my career as a music journalist with a gig review of Peter Cat Recording Co. something that is best left buried in the tumultuous sands of time. It is my dying wish that no one ever finds it. To say that it was flattering to the band would be an understatement. When I first caught PCRC in BlueFROG Mumbai I was taken by a contagious compulsion to let go. Anyone who has followed frontman Suryakant Sawhney’s work over the years, will tell you of the distinct flavour his visual aesthetic leaves on your tongue. You can’t really taste his music without imagining it.
Image Credit – Ron Bezbaruah
Pune-based musician, Gowri Jayakumar, is a woman who wears many hats, switching effortlessly from one avatar to the next one. From being in a pop/jazz/folk band, Run Pussy Run, to starting a platform meets record label focused on minority voices in India, she’s constantly innovating and reinventing herself.
“I feel like this is the first time I’m going to stick to something”, she says, when we talk about her foray into the world of electronic music under the moniker Pulpy Shilpy, whose 4 track EP, ‘Slough’, is a dark and brooding dance record that has received praise from both critics and listeners.
Image taken at The Shift by Shubham Gupta
If you listen to ‘alternative’ electronic music in New Delhi, only a few venues in the city indulge your taste. After the clubs shut (1am, mostly) the after-parties start. The same several dozen people frequent both these places. Eager to trade names alongside lighters, they stay awake until the soft focus of pre-dawn. While most of the city sleeps, this particular group of people will share cigarettes while taking ownership of a scuffed up nook, a hardened piece of pavement. This is where conversations around ways to better the industry happen. They’re mostly repetitive and trite with people glowing in the shared confidence of the music that pulsates from another room. The romantic inside us wants to believe that all great ideas happen here, in these moments that seem to last forever. In reality, the conversations are just seeds being planted. It takes laborious, tedious work for one of these seeds to be fruitful. One of those seeds was Coven Code.
Karma Yatri Travel And Art (KYTA) 2018: Expanding Creative Enquiry Via Art, Culture, Travel & Experimentation
As is the case with most national projects that wish to inject sustained government surveillance into isolated territory – first comes the excuse for development followed by the highway or the road that eventually gives way to a burst in tourism or an inflow of outsiders. Kullu’s Parvati Valley suffered a similar fate when, by the end of the 20th century its potential as a resource rich land (to provide electricity to neighboring states which are richer and more ‘developed’) was recognised.
Set in most minds of amateur backpackers now, is Parvati Valley’s slowly (but hopefully), fraying reputation as a place limited to cannabis, psy-trance and ‘bhaijis’. The mid-range Himalayas are possibly one of the most soil and mineral rich mountains in the world; embalming floral habitat of medicinal value within evergreen mountains and meadows which give way to crystal blue glacial waters.
Shoegaze In The Time Of Insurgency: How Manipur Based Lo! Peninsula Fought Odds To Release Their Dazzling Debut EP
Image: Lo! Peninsula by Naman Saraiya
Listening to shoegaze for the first time is a lot like falling in love. Fuzzy notes slow dive into you in dim-lit cafes that house more cats than humans. Their owners have 90s hearts. Your ears perk up to psychedelic notes dipped in blankets. Before you know it, you’re downloading albums and appreciating pillows. Shoegaze has happened to you. You’ll move onto other things, people and genres. Your Spotify playlist will thrive with less familiar forms of life. But you’ll always come back to shoegaze. …
Image: Prabh Deep by Nishant Jhamb
When describing Indian hip-hop, the word ‘nascent’ may as well be crumpled up and lit on fire amongst other cliched terms like: game-changing, fledgling, budding, out there, and breath of fresh air. Indian hip-hop has been around for a while; through acts like Panjabi MC, Street Academics, Raftaar, Bombay Bassment and others, the genre has been cemented, though maybe not as visibly as it is today. Over the last few years, the mainstream has taken notice of a different type of hip-hop: slowly building momentum through the streets, gaining popularity via the internet’s recycling of likes, re-tweets and shares, it snaked its way through the back alleys of major metropolis’ and has now rooted itself in corporate boardrooms. …
Image: Still from 2009 Bollywood film ‘All The Best: Fun Begins’
Growing up in a world where whiteness was the default, South Asians gravitated to ‘the other’. Hip-hop – and Black culture at large – offered a protective umbrella to immigrant children, giving them an opportunity to belong in an unknown land and unfamiliar community. Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj expanded on this phenomenon in an interview with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, by stating that the narrative hip-hop culture propagated was one that immigrant kids aspired to achieve, a hope that one day they would be treated as equals.
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: 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.
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.