“Raga Bhairav,” starts quickly, with a wobbly, almost apocalyptic bassline. It is a raga, according to Indian tradition, that is meant to be played early in the morning. You can hear a (vocodered?) robo-voice in the beginning of the track intoning “Om Namah Shivaya” — the traditional prayer to the god Shiva.
In 1982, veteran Bollywood composer Charanjit Singh visits Singapore and gets his hands on the now holy trinity of a Roland 303, 808, and Jupiter 8 – the core of acid house and arguably the precursor to electronica as we know it today.
The thing is, he does this four years before the clubs of Detroit, Chicago, and Manchester do.
Later that year, EMI India releases an album limited to a few thousand copies: “Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat”. It presents Charanjit’s effort at using what was then entirely new technology to bridge the gap between programmed beats, synth lines, and classical Indian music motifs.
It essentially sinks without a trace.
In 2010, Dutch label Bombay Connection re-releases this LP to an unsuspecting and wholly ignorant public, convinced that these beats were established in the clubs of Chicago, Detroit, and Manchester in the mid to late eighties.
Combining Carnatic, Hindustani, jazz, folk, electronic, and drum-n-bass, Vivek Rajagopalan’s music creates rippling sound scapes that are edgy as much as international; and if world music today is a melting pot of cultures & genres, then Vivek’s music is a drop of spicy red curry in the concoction.
Two hands and fathoms of music – that’s Vivek. Vivek befriended the Mridangam at the age of 9 under Guru Shri T.S.Nandakumar’s keen supervision and grew up listening to Late Palakkad S. Mani Iyer,the legendary mridangam player, Karaikudii Mani Iyer, and Trilok Gurtu.
In 1996, Dinshaw Sanjana took a young Mridangam player to the world at The International Jazz Festival – Thailand, which saw Vivek, just 17 years then, brace the stage alongside some of the most talented jazz musicians from across the world.
Karsh’s Bi-weekly event Futureproof finds him pleasing the New York City underground with his DJ and live electric tabla sets. Indian classical, dub, drum and bass, jungle, reggae and ambient influences come together to create the Futureproof aesthetic. The event features a live band led by Kale, which has been recognized as one of the leading live drum and bass events in New York.
Shūnya (AKA Bal Singh) is an electronic producer and classically trained composer based in Melbourne, Australia. He is an artist that is seamlessly weaving together his internal dichotomy of beat nerd and trained Indian classical musician to stirring effect.
Born into a musical family, it was Singh’s father – a professional tabla player and percussionist – that initiated his love for music, first through a steady stream of Indian classical records then, later, by putting his hands onto the tabla. Singh eventually travelled to Malaysia and India to study the more esoteric aspects of Indian classical music, studying the sitar with internationally renowned musician Samuel Dass and then, after being awarded a fellowship by the Australian Arts Council, working with India’s top sarangi player and living legend, Ustad Sabri Khan.
Indian Electronica is a Toronto, Canadian based Arts organization focused on promoting modern aesthetics in music paired with South Asian tradition. Since its early roots as a simple online magazine chronicling developments in the music they showcased, they have grown into a large online community with an international and multi-cultural network of friends.