A musician's tryst with sound

Experiment: A P Srinivas at control room in his recording studio in Mysore.  DH photos by Anurag Basavaraj

The thick sound-proofing pastel shade walls, the completely enclosed almost claustrophobic rooms where the musicians sit and play the instruments, is all something that is a world in itself. Sitting in the control room, fiddling with the consoles, the young musician who has done his diploma in sound engineering from Singapore, took the bold step of setting up a recording studio in Mysore where anything a little adventurous is looked at with suspicion and words of discouragement.

However, for A P Srinivas, the musician and sound engineer, the biggest plus was his background of coming from a family of musicians. His father A P Prakash, a former banker and a flautist was also keen on setting up a recording studio. “Coming from a middle class family, it was a difficult task for us. We planned to set up this studio in 1998 itself but the idea finally fructified in 2002 when we pooled in all our resources,” said Srinivas.

Some of the finest unsung musicians the world has known from Mysore include M Venkateshachar, Titte Krishna Iyengar , jal tarang artiste Venugopal, senior musician B Devendrappa and even the greatest veena player Veene Doreswamy Iyengar. “None of their music has been recorded. Even Doreswamy Iyengar’s music pre-recorded CDs and cassette recordings became very popular after he attained a certain status. The main reason was lack of recording facilities. There was only Akashvani which of course has been doing yeoman service. Otherwise, they all had to go to Bangalore which has two or three studios,” he said.

A liquor merchant Pape Gowda, a good friend of my father invested money in good acoustic equipment. Some how he was dissuaded by many as they felt Mysore was not the place. He just sent the equipment back to Bangalore, he recalled.

“Pro-Audio Asia in Thailand, one of the biggest magazine publications trains sound engineers in latest technology. They select 20 sound engineers every year from all over the world. I went twice to this training,” he said. With this wealth of experience, he set up the recording studio ‘Resonators,’ with the latest acoustic equipment.

We invited many artistes to come and record. Mysore flautist A Chandankumar the great grandson of violin maestro Pitil Chowdiah and mridangist Tumkur Ravishanker came and recorded here, he said.

“They gained international recognition when they went to Europe and America with the CDs. We did about 10 or 12 recording all for free. Instead of paying the musicians remuneration, we would give them 100 to 150 CDs,” he told City Herald.

By 2007, the equipment had become obsolete. Then Srinivas installed the pro-tools.

Earlier, the problem was when the players sitting in different rooms with instruments like tabla, flute, keyboard played there was a mono track recording. Even if there was a dissonance in one instrument, then it would be difficult to set it right in this one track recording. Now it is so advanced that from this single track, it went up to eight, sixteen and now there are 256 tracks. That means, so many instruments can be recorded individually and then put together with the ‘Click,’ introduced.

Two famous light music singers who are no more C Aswath and Raju Ananthaswamy have recorded here, especially the latter having recorded all his songs since ten years here. Even the great violin maestro Dr L Subramaniam has recorded here, not to forget Vijay Prakash of ‘Jai ho,’ fame, he said.

Srinivas has also imported ‘flying sound’  from America which is only one of the seven sound systems in the country. He has been installing this equipment during Dasara music programmes which has drawn wide appreciation.

Along with wife S V Sahana a veena player, the couple is coming up with fusion music consisting of violin, veena, mrudangam, ghatam, keyboard, drums, tabla and base guitar.

They will play Karnatak, Hindustani and Western tunes and plan to give public performances beginning from next year.

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