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Masta Justy

First at Khoj
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Masta Justy a.k.a Jatin Vidyarthi is a composer of film soundtracks and a sound artist interested in the intersection between sound art, electronic music, Indian classical music and artistic media like sound installation, video art and contemporary dance. After studying audio engineering in Sydney, Jatin worked at sound studios and music labels in Mumbai before entering into music composition and production full-time. In 2008, Jatin was selected to participate at the Berlinale Talent Campus, and in 2009 he produced and released Sunheri Parchai, a sonic art album in collaboration with sound artist Michael Northam at the first KHOJ Sound Art residency in New Delhi.


While composing a densely layered soundtrack for John and Jane (2006), an award-winning feature-­length independent film, Jatin was not free to record live acoustic instruments, and had to manage with electronic samples. In later years, Jatin used complex sound design/techniques to ensure that the proposed soundtrack could be listened to independently, as well as performed live with the film to create an immersive audio-visual experience. Jatin’s music is often textured by field recordings of the sounds of everyday life in the city, or sounds of the wild—birds, insects, water. Jatin uses musical instruments like the guitar, synthesizer, Indian and electronic percussion, strings, woodwinds and bass, to build melodies, rhythms, drones and texture. He samples and processes sonic material from vinyl, cassette and CD, and processes and transforms these sounds through computer software. Steve Reich and Brian Eno are big influences on his practice.


Jatin has been studying film soundtracks and scores to enrich his own compositional techniques. Some of the soundtracks he admires are those created for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Veronica Voss, composed by Peer Raben; Werner Herzog’s Aguirre the Wrath of God, composed by Popul Vuh, an experimental rock and synthesizer band, and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, composed by Gyorgy Ligeti. In the context of Indian cinema, the soundtrack for Kamal Swaroop’s film Om Dar Ba Dar, composed by Rajat Dholakia, has been the biggest influence on Jatin’s work.