Delhi based music collective REProduce Artists brought back a series called Listening Room to KHOJ. The aim was to fill a gap in the ever-iterating and increasingly varied community of live music in India by showcasing talent that might not get heard in venues oriented towards more mainstream music. A Listening Room event focusses purely on the music – in a space where an audience can absorb sound on their own terms.
The eighth edition of Listening Room featured an expanded line-up in comparison to past sessions, reflective of a rather successful and similarly expanded Bombay edition held at Jude Bakery in Bandra three weeks before this event.
REProduce, introducing the performers (dated 2016):
Sanchal Malhar (Delhi)
In October 2010, I found myself shuttling between the home of a young woman I had recently met and the floor of a dance studio. Typically returning late at night, and over the course of a week, Sanchal would be in one of the rooms of this residence, behind a locked door near the kitchen, playing guitar and singing for a woman who will remain unnamed here. I would come home, make a sandwich, and just listen with a sense of awe of what was happening in that room – the full contours of which were and are of course none of my business, thankfully. I am not sure if an imagined relationship made his voice and playing more urgent, or if it was just where I was at that point in my life, but it usually would take me 30 minutes to eat that sandwich as I would often forget that I was, indeed, eating a sandwich. For this set Sanchal will be performing alone, with his acoustic guitar (addendum: yes Sanchal plays with Superfuzz, Indigo Children, he’s amazing, etc).
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, touching on low slung hip hop, long ambient passages, and sharp percussive rushes to create something both unsettling and seductive. This will be Jamblu’s fourth LR session, and the second time he will perform alone without stringed accompaniment – we expect to see low end fixations, impossible rushes, and an emerging legacy.
Lifafa has been the solo project of the vocalist of Delhi’s peerless PCRC, Suryakant Sawhney. Gifted with a singular baritone, and somehow capable of balancing that, guitar duties, and sampling/loops in a live context, his sonic landscape doesn’t sound or feel like anything else. Disco, soul, and shoegaze are all reference points, but none really characterize his world. The last time he did an LR Session (actually the first we ever did) he played some Vangelis on Alprax motifs wearing a tweed jacket and sunglasses, promptly leaving post his set to join his girlfriend at the February JNU protests. A man with sound priorities. For this set, he will present 30 minutes of “an ambient work” followed by new material from his forthcoming new EP.
Nishant Mittal is a 20 year student of law, now two years away from receiving his Bachelors of Law. In the meantime, he is quietly laying down some of the most patiently hostile sounds to ever have come out of Faridabad. As he puts it, “I started making techno, but that got boring.” Some of us likely know exactly how you feel, Nishant. Somewhere between a Facebook friend request and a few Instagram likes, emerged a Soundcloud page, and soon after, I met Nishant as a patron at the REProduce Listening Room | Anagram Architects session. This will be his live debut, potentially with construction tools: we are not sure.
By his own admission, Shantam Khanna doesn’t do much besides make music and travel. When asked how he manages to carve out such a charmed existence, his response was a glib “by the skin of my teeth”. This response was gleaned over a spotty telephone call while he was ensconced somewhere in the Andamans, so it would appear that he has skin to spare. I’m not sure what he is doing there but he apparently has found some nirvana proxy and as such is leaving Delhi for good – this might be the last chance you get to see him for a while. Shantam gets in on May 30, the day before this session, after which he will decide how many patch cables he has at his disposal for his small modular analog set up and he’ll rinse something. The rest he will leave to whimsy, and then he’ll move to the Andamans forever. There’s an island there populated entirely by asses. Donkey heaven. I really have no idea.
Hemant Sreekumar 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 ro step into his world, and an even rarer opportunity to witness him collaborate with another artist.
Hashback Hashish (Kolkata/Bombay)
The music of Ashish Sachan confronts you with a simplicity that is earnest but also misleading – if you drill down, there are details that only a pair of headphones (and perhaps a taste of his adopted name) can reward you with. Firmly rooted in the minimalist tradition, his narrative offers something for electronic music fans across the spectrum – committed geeks who respect musical history on one end, and on the other, those who could not care less about the past and just want to lose it on a dancefloor. Fresh from his UK debut at Bangface where he shared billing with the likes of 808 State, Noisia, Luke Vibert, and Venetian Snares, he will perform this session live as opposed to the DJ sets Delhi knows him better for. Expect paranoia.