This was a unique event at KHOJ – an exploration of the more left field side of the rapidly iterating form of electronic music production in India. Four artists – Ravana, Jamblu, and Hemant Sreekumar from Delhi, and HVAD from Denmark – performed over the course of four hours. The event showcased the remarkable electronic music production talent that otherwise does not get heard in the realm of Delhi’s more mainstream, DJ friendly arenas.
REProduce, introducing the performers (dated 2015):
AKA Ravana Tenheads, AKA Shravan Chelappa: Ravana has been performing as a DJ since 2001, but it’s only over the past three years that he has discovered music sequencing software, which makes us all rather fortunate indeed. His ten aliases (heads) on Soundcloud are all distinct in signature, and the breadth of his work is somewhat staggering, ranging from field recordings and turntablism to film snippets, all tethered together by a mix of drum breaks, looped found sound, and melody.
AKA KS Pillai: Though he acts as guitarist, trumpet player, and keyboardist for Delhi’s Peter Cat Recording Co., and as vocalist and guitarist for Begum, Kartik is mostly found at home making more music, seemingly at odds with the kind of demands that workload would seem to present on one’s time. His solo project Jamblu began in 2014, and after two releases. it would appear that his well of creativity is just beginning to be excavated. His music touches on hip hop, ambient, and free jazz (as far as recent unreleased demos go) and it all comes together into a seamless whole. In listening to it, one is unsure if the reaction should be to bob their head to it, or rather to place said head on a shelf for a more reflexive assessment.
Hemant currently teaches digital arts at Ambedkar University, and between that and his other full time job, he rarely has the opportunity to perform the utterly unique sound and visual patina he creates – so this is a rare opportunity to step into his world. Via programming his own algorithms in code, he presents a remarkable experience that merges projected, generative visuals with sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrific audio frequencies. A true original.
AKA Hari Shankar Kishore. A true performer, Hari incorporates brass bowls, underwater contact microphones, and sometimes a shepherd’s cane into his craft, all punctuated by a sort of seemingly demented conductor’s oversight. Manipulating two turntables laden with dub plates he presses himself, his set builds from drones, to howling dogs, to old Bollywood film samples, oozing slowly towards juke-esque beat meditations, teasingly surfacing into slight and then unforgiving breakbeats, veering finally into merciless 160BPM territory. He commands the stage with a seemingly impossible grasp over the complex rhythms he creates, as only someone who has authored the work could possibly do. Over the course of an hour, the typical reaction of a crowd is along the lines of initial abject confusion and discomfort, to a sort of capacity to understand a new language, and then utter realization and release.
This event was curated by REProduce Artists, a Delhi based artist management and booking agency, with the space kindly provided by KHOJ International Artists’ Association.