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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » New Delhi: Electronic music now rocking with new tunes

New Delhi: Electronic music now rocking with new tunes

Delivered... IE-mAdmin | Press | Sun 30 Aug 2009 3:57 am

30 Aug 2009, 0105 hrs IST, John Sarkar, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: A certain section of the society is going into a collective state of bodily transcendence. Hypnotic rhythms are being laced with

fluorescent cocktails, as the country’s young swish brigade walks deeper underground. It’s being considered the biggest mind altering influence since Woodstock, but the shamanism may soon be out in the open.

From being a strictly underground genre, Indian electronic music is slowly creeping out into the limelight. The crowds are swelling and the number of desi world class acts is broke no more. Groups such as Jalebee Cartel, Kohra, BLOT, Jayant, Sattyananda, Shaair+Func, Tatva Kundalini, Anil Chawla and a whole heap of smaller artists are working all over the world and pushing the scene forward.

This spark of recognition is being seen as real and has spawned quite a few record labels such as DadA Music, Qilla Records, Shivlink, Audioashram and Thirdeye, in a very short time. These are mainly labels launched by the artists themselves. But the gig is not over yet.

Despite satellite radio stations such as Worldspace and BBC beaming electronic music, the country now also has its first indigenous full-time online music station, Radio79, broadcasting tub-thumping electronic tracks 24/7. The station has tied up with over 250 international labels and has seen over two lakh hits in a month.

Nikhel Mahajan, the brain behind the channel and an electronica artist himself, feels that electronic music is the future. “Already, Bollywood is playing electronic. People like Suketu, Himesh Reshamiya, Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, Vishal and Shekhar, all have electronic undertones in their music. Just because, the vocals are in Hindi, the music is being passed off as commercial mainstream,” he says.

It’s a similar situation in America where electronic dance music is often classified as only electronic and accounts for 1% of sales, according to the NPD group (a market research company), compared to 8% in Britain, according to the British music industry group BPI.

Indian sales figures are quite comparable. In India, electronic music now accounts for nearly 3-4% of sales (The Indian Music Industry has pegged the size of the total music industry at roughly Rs 700 cr), according to industry estimates. “It’s a far cry from the time where it hardly mattered,” says Mahajan, who is also planning to launch an alternate lifestyle magazine called Ggrunt by next month, which would be the first Indian magazine on electronic music et al.

As a genre, Indian electronica might seem to be relatively new, however, its roots go deep down to somewhere back in the mid nineties. Sprouting in the UK, with the Asian underground movement that comprised of Talvin Singh, State of Bengal, Barmarsh and Shri, TJ Rehmi, lament and a whole lot more, there were small parties and outdoor gatherings that created a great vibe and atmosphere to promote the music.

“Sounds Of The Asian Underground” was the first real release that put Indian electronic artists out on to the global platform. Much later, when Talvin Singh went on to win the Mercury Music Prize, alongside artists like Roni Size, it was clear that the Indian community had some sort of an uprising and things started to stir up in the clubs and amongst music lovers.

And soon after, artists such Joi and Nitin Sawhney made waves in the music industry. A few years down the line and another uprising of sorts took place with a massive Asian crew from the US and India, comprising of artists such as Karsh Kale, Medieval Punditz, Zakir Hussain, Bill Laswell, DJ Spooky, Atul Ohri, Vishail Vaid and the likes.

After this wave of musicians, artists were on the roll in India and overseas and Indian electronica has, since then, grown by mammoth proportions, with more and more musicians breaking barriers and making noise on the International EDM scene.

The sound of the new millennium is very diversified, with DJs and music producers churning out anything from psychedelic trance to progressive, house, minimal, tech, tech-house, dub, breaks, and a whole lot more.

Indian clubs have come a long way from playing just commercial Bollywood and are now open to this new wave of Indian and international electronica with some popular night spots such as FBar, 360 degree, Bluefrog, Zenzi, all catering to this genre of music and offering the electronic experience to punters.

At the same time, the country has its own electronic sound festival which is held in Goa. Called the Sunburn, the fest usually has a mix of House and techno music. But the scene is not yet comparable to the best festivals in the world such as Germany’s Berlin Love Parade, Portugal’s biennial Boom Festival (where the Portugese government has allotted land to the organisers), Australia’s Rainbow Serpent trance festival or even some of the smallest electronica fests in Brazil.

Also, electronic music is being increasingly used in fashion shows here as well. Says Rashmi Virmani, Delhi-based fashion choreographer: “Earlier we used to use a lot of lounge and fusion music. But suddenly, electronic music seems to be in vogue. The pace of shows has become faster and crisp, and designs have become more edgy. Hence, electronic music fits the bill just right.”

But there is a catch to this groovy feeling. Some artists such as, Madhav Shorey of “Kohra” who is also an ex-member of Jalebee Cartel, feels that here, electronic music still has a long way to go. “Electronic is not about fashion. It’s more of a movement and cult.

With this sudden explosion there is a lot of crap going on there and people are running to make a fast buck,” he says. “In India you get paid a lot more for a gig than you get paid abroad. But the motive is not right.” Artists usually earn from gigs at clubs and bars and a fairly well-known outfit charges between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 per show.

Shorey also feels there is a lot of competition at present and artists refuse to play with each other, which is bad for the movement. But the race is understandable. International electronic band Infected Mushroom is rumoured to earn around 65,000 euros per gig!

(S0urce: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/Media-/-Entertainment-/Entertainment/Electronic-music-now-rocking-with-new-tunes/articleshow/4949770.cms )

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